Mormon Elder Lectures Vatican on Mission

News: World News
by Jules Gomes  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  May 11, 2021   

Proselytizing cult contradicts Pope Francis' anti-proselytism diatribes

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VATICAN CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) - In a historic first, the Vatican invited a leading elder of one of the world's most aggressive proselytizing cults to address its global health conference on the topic of "mission," despite Pope Francis' repeated repudiation of "proselytization."

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Elder William K. Jackson speaking at the Vatican forum

Elder William K. Jackson told the Pontifical Council for Culture's "Mind, Body and Soul" health summit Saturday that "medical missionary work is nearly always well-meaning but has not always been well-received."

Religions engage in medical missions "because it is the right thing to do" and "many believe they will be judged and held accountable for how they treat others, for how they use their talents to lift the arms that hang down and strengthen the feeble knees," Jackson said.

But unlike Catholic medical missionaries who minister to all who are sick, Mormon "health missionaries" are "men and women with medical training called to coordinate the health of proselyting missionaries throughout the world," the Mormon website reveals.

Moreover, missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) — a sponsor of the Vatican's health forum — see Catholics as targets of proselytism and new missionary efforts being invested in converting Catholics in the historic Catholic city of Rome.

Francis: Anti-Proselytist Concerning Catholicism

"Pope Francis' reluctance to encourage proselytism on behalf of the faith he is publicly showcasing — compared to his willingness to promote other value systems and political preferences — moves beyond paradox to contradiction," cultural critic Fr. Athanasius St. Michel told Church Militant.   

The pope is providing "an enthusiastic platform for globalist anti-Catholic voices while rebuking simple Catholic evangelizing enthusiasms as he has so frequently done," the theologian lamented, noting that this "evacuates Francis' office of what little authenticity has survived his studied ambiguities."

A watching world might tolerate ambiguity, but not even a pope can survive the absurdity and flagrancy of self-contradiction.

"A watching world might tolerate ambiguity, but not even a pope can survive the absurdity and flagrancy of self-contradiction," Fr. Athanasius maintained.

Francis has labeled proselytism "solemn nonsense," a "sinful attitude" and the "strongest poison against the ecumenical path."

"Evangelization is essentially witness. Proselytizing is convincing, but it is all about membership and takes your freedom away," Francis said in 2019. However, despite using the term "evangelism," the pontiff discourages conversion from other faiths to Catholicism.

"It is not licit that you convince them of your faith," Francis said in 2016, admonishing a Catholic girl who told him she wanted to invite her unchurched friends to church.

Mormon President Nelson meets Pope Francis at the Vatican just before the inauguration of the Rome Temple
 

Francis berated the Pilo Albertelli High School students in Rome: "You can't tell Jewish and Muslim children, 'come and be converted,'" as "We are not in the times of the Crusades."

Mormons: 'Robust Proselytizing' for Cult

In contrast to Francis' rejection of missionary activity seeking converts, the Mormon cult's "robust proselytizing" caused it "to grow faster as a result of intensive missionary proselyting than from natural increase, a highly important trend that has continued ever since," according to The Palgrave Handbook of Global Mormonism.

The LDS website confirms the presence of over 67,000 full-time missionaries in 2021. Most missionaries are young people under 25, serving in 399 missions globally. Single male missionaries typically serve 24 months, while single female missionaries serve 18 months.

We want to fill the Rome Temple with sons and daughters of God from Italy and do the work for their Italian ancestors.

"Male missionaries are addressed with the title 'elder' and women are addressed with the title 'sister,'" the website explains. Vatican forum speaker Elder Jackson served as full-time missionary in the Bolivia La Paz Mission and in India's New Delhi Mission.

Aim for Cult: Converting Catholics

Rome has become a recent focus of the cult's proselytism as membership in Italy has grown from 66 in 1967 to surpassing 7,000 in 1978, to 12,000 in 1985, to 21,000 in 2005, and to nearly 27,000 in 101 congregations in 2018, across the traditionally Catholic country.

"We want to fill the Rome Temple with sons and daughters of God from Italy and do the work for their Italian ancestors. The vision we're striving to create is filling the Rome Temple — to meet that, we've got a long way to go," Michael Pickerd, Rome Mission president said.

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Mormon missionaries unashamedly proselytizing in Rome

The Vatican's invitation to the Mormon leadership follows Pope Francis' unprecedented 33-minute meeting with Mormon president Russell M. Nelson in 2019 when the cult dedicated its new temple in Rome, not far from the Vatican.

"The Italians are very curious people, so they want to know what this building is," Sister Sadie Decker said, addressing the Temple's role in proselytism. "It's a really easy way for us to talk to people because they're curious and they want to at least come and see it."

Mormonism "has grown and spread significantly in Latin American countries that are predominantly Catholic and meet many of the other criteria for higher levels of religious demand," The Palgrave Handbook of Global Mormonism recorded, with global Mormon membership at 16,313,735 in 2018.

In 2001, the Vatican rejected the validity of Mormon baptism because Mormons regard the Holy Trinity as "three gods who form one divinity" with God the Father having a heavenly Mother as his wife and procreating sons — of whom the firstborn is Jesus Christ.

Jackson's talk on "missionary work" was the only time any of the 114 speakers broached the topic of mission. 

The Vatican's health summit has come under a firestorm of criticism for hosting hugely controversial speakers like New Age guru Deepak Chopra, abortion promoter Chelsea Clinton, vaccine oligarchs Albert Bourla (Pfizer) and Stéphane Bancel (Moderna) in its lineup of celebrity speakers.

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