Mormon Prayer vs. Catholic Prayer

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misterfake371
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Mormon Prayer vs. Catholic Prayer

Post by misterfake371 » Sun Aug 30, 2020 2:55 pm

I’ve been praying like a Catholic for a year now and I have some observations about the differences between Mormon prayer and Catholic prayer.

When I was TBM, I remember people would criticize Catholics for doing vain repetitions when they pray. Christ warns against “vain repetitions” in the Sermon on the Mount. Well, first of all, The New American Bible, which a version commonly used by Catholics, doesn’t have that phrase in Matthew 6:7. In the NAB, it says, “In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words.”

Second of all, even if we are using the KJV, Christ said don’t do “VAIN repetitions.” He didn’t say don’t do any repetitions at all. So when I say the Hail Mary over and over and over, it’s not in vain. I mean the words to that prayer, every time I say it. Also, the words to that prayer were revealed by God. So, even if the Hail Mary is repeated a thousand times in a day, each utterance is, I believe, efficacious.

And Mormons have set prayers too. The sacrament prayers and prayers in the temple are set prayers in which the same words are repeated over and over.

Also, the Psalms are set prayers, sung and prayed in the days of David and Solomon. And the hymns, which have lyrics that are repeated over and over, are prayers, according to D+C 25: 12. Mormons don’t call singing the same hymns over and over “vain repetitions.”

And then there are phrases that you hear over and over again in Mormon prayers, like, “please bless this food that it will nourish and strengthen us.” So the Mormons have plenty of repetition in their prayers, too.

One of the worst parts about Mormon prayer is the teaching about waiting for an answer from the Holy Ghost. I remember so many times when I was trying to gain a testimony when I was 18 and 19 wondering, “did I just feel a burning in the bosom? Am I having a stupor of thought? Is that thought from the Holy Ghost, or is that just from my own brain? I wish I was more in tune with the Spirit, like the General Authorities are!”

When I prayed as a TBM, I was following the instructions that Joseph Smith gave in the Doctrine and Covenants 9: 8 & 9. I remember I fasted for three days in preparation for my patriarchal blessing, which I got when I was either 18 or 19. I wanted so badly for a sure witness of the truthfulness of the LDS Church. I never really got it, but I did latch on to the thought, “You already know it’s true.” And I also felt happy when I did LDS stuff, so I took that as my answer too. But still, I wanted a more dramatic answer. I wanted a personal revelation, and I didn’t think I was too unreasonable to seek one. I had heard so many testimonies where Mormons say, “I went to the woods and prayed about the Church. I prayed like Enos, and finally an undeniable feeling poured into me, and now I can testify, that I know with every fiber of my being that Joseph Smith is a prophet and that the Book of Mormon is true.”

And Moroni’s promise says that ANYONE who reads and prays about the Book of Mormon will gain a testimony of its truth. That’s such a darned lie! That’s so messed up of Joseph Smith to put that in his book when he knew full well that the Book of Mormon was a fabrication! Was Joseph Smith aware of how much psychological anguish he would be inflicting on millions of people, for hundreds of years, just by writing that at the end of the Book of Mormon? It’s so messed up to put people through that mental torture! It’s spiritual abuse! Lying about God is one of the worst things you can lie about. It’s probably THE worst thing you can lie about, actually.

I sometimes wonder why it took me 7 years to change from Mormon to Catholic. I lost my LDS testimony in 2012, and it wasn’t until 2019 that I finally felt at home in another church. (And I honestly believe now that I’m not just in another good Christian church. Rather, I believe that I’m in the Church Jesus founded, and I believe that Jesus is the one true God.) Maybe it took me 7 years because it took me that long to heal emotionally and spiritually. I was definitely one of the members who took the religion very seriously. I was very eager to serve faithfully in my callings and I was missionary minded. I shared my testimony with non-members and gave them copies of the Book of Mormon, even when I wasn’t on a mission. I tried, desperately sometimes, to get people to convert. So since I took the religion so seriously, it took me a longer time to recover from Mormonism.

So, Mormons teach that after you pray, you should “wait for an answer.” Now, I’m not against quiet meditation and contemplation. In fact, I’m in favor of that, but there’s something refreshing about the Catholic style of prayer: just saying memorized words, or reading them out of a prayer book, and then leaving it at that. There’s no mind games like “What was that feeling? Was that a sudden stroke of an idea from Heaven? Was that a stupor of thought? Hmmm… Was that the Spirit, or was that just heartburn from the chili dog I ate for dinner?”

Here’s another bad memory I have of Mormon prayer: I had this jerk of a missionary companion who made me do “spiritual tracting.” Did any of you do this? We had a map of the city on the wall, and we would pray about where we should tract that day. We would both separately repent, pray, look at the map, and wait for inspiration. I remember staring at the map on the wall for what seemed like forever, in desperation, waiting for God to highlight a few streets in my vision. I never saw any of them get highlighted, but sometimes I tricked myself into believing that some of the street names looked bolder or brighter.

So I would write down five street names, and my companion would write down five street names, and then we would show each other our pieces of paper. If any of our street names matched, we would tract on those streets. If we didn’t get any matches, I think we would do the whole process over again. If we still didn’t get any matches, we would probably just go wherever the senior companion wanted to go.

I remember one time we got two or three street names that matched, on the first try, and my companion said, “Did you peek? Did you copy me?” I said no. I really didn’t peek. Maybe we had matches by coincidence, or maybe we really were inspired by the Holy Ghost. Who knows.

The point to this story is, I felt that I couldn’t get answers to my prayers, because I was unworthy. I had too many lustful thoughts, and I was too disobedient to mission rules, so God wouldn’t give me answers to my prayers. That’s what I really thought.

The Church taught me to feel unworthy, and they taught me to worship men, the Church leaders, who had spiritual superpowers. (I remember thinking on my mission, “if the General Authorities have so much spiritual power, why aren’t they out here knocking on doors? They should be able to convert thousands of people.”)

I should say, though, that ultimately I’m thankful I went on a mission. It was a good character building exercise, and I think I really helped people get closer to God. I also encouraged people to think about religion and God, which I believe is a good thing. I’ve actually heard some people say that it was the Mormon missionaries who got them to take their own Catholic faith more seriously.

And I do have a good memory of Mormon prayer from my mission. My companion was sick, so we just stayed in the apartment all morning, or maybe all day. My companion was upstairs in bed, maybe asleep, and I was downstairs, by myself. I knelt down and prayed for maybe about an hour. I think I whispered out loud. I poured out my soul to God. I thanked Him for my blessings, I asked him for things. I don’t remember the contents of that prayer, but I do remember feeling something supernatural, something positive. A sense of divine love rested upon me.

I do believe that God hears Mormons who pray in the Mormon style. It’s not the best manner of prayer, but it’s better than not praying at all. And it’s certainly better than pagan incantations and human sacrifices.

One of the best parts of Catholic prayer is that you don’t expect to receive answers to your prayers in that way. I just say the rosary, or the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, or any of the set Catholic prayers, and then I feel satisfied. To me, prayer is like writing a letter to a friend, putting it in an envelope, putting it in the mailbox, and then walking away. There’s faith involved. I wrote a poem a long time ago, comparing prayer to mailing a letter:

Faith

Think of what we seal in envelopes:
birthday cards, love letters, invitations,
And send through the mail,
handled by postal workers, organized and shipped.
Hoping all arrives safely.

Think of what we pray:
thanksgivings, pleadings, confessions,
And send through the atmosphere,
handled by angels, lifted and delivered.
Hoping all arrives safely.

Another difference between Mormon and Catholic prayer is that Mormons only pray to Heavenly Father, whereas Catholics pray to each person of the Trinity, the Blessed Virgin Mary, angels, and Saints. I like to jokingly say that becoming Catholic has given me so many new invisible friends! :)

My Dad thinks it’s ridiculous, and even sacrilegious, that I’m praying to Mary now. But here’s how I look at it. When I’m praying to Mary, I’m just talking to her. I talk to plenty of people who aren’t God!

Here are the words to the Hail Mary: “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.” As you can see, when I pray that prayer, I’m not worshipping Mary. I’m not acknowledging her as the Fourth Person of the Trinity (there are only three persons in the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit). I’m fully aware that Mary is a creation of God. In contrast, God is the uncreated Creator.

Also, when I pray to Mary, the Saints, or angels, I’m praying for their intercession. I’m asking them to pray to God for me. Why? Because their prayers are more powerful than my prayers, because they’re closer to God than I am. They’re in Heaven, where God is, so obviously they’re closer to God. And when Mary and the angels and I pray together, we form one giant mystical body of worshippers. We unify in prayer. (God encourages unification. The Devil encourages isolation.)
I encourage anybody reading this who feels far from God to try praying the rosary. There are plenty of people on Youtube who can teach you how to do it. Just search for “how to pray the rosary.” The Virgin Mary appeared in Fatima, Portugal, in 1917 (maybe 1913) and she said that everyone should pray the rosary every day. So that’s why I do it! Mary appeared and told me to! Pray the rosary every day and see what happens to your life!

May God bless you on your spiritual journey!
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. Ecclesiastes 12:13

dogbite
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Re: Mormon Prayer vs. Catholic Prayer

Post by dogbite » Sun Aug 30, 2020 4:03 pm

misterfake371 wrote:
Sun Aug 30, 2020 2:55 pm
Also, the Psalms are set prayers, sung and prayed in the days of David and Solomon.
As a statement of faith, great.

As a statement of fact, probably not so much. The psalms were written across centuries. Psalm 29 probably originated to Baal. David and Solomon probably practiced pagan antecedents to Judaic monotheism which arose during and post Exile.

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1smartdodog
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Re: Mormon Prayer vs. Catholic Prayer

Post by 1smartdodog » Mon Aug 31, 2020 4:50 pm

Curious if you find Catholic prayers any more productive than Mormon prayers. Do you get any better inspiration or intervention?


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alas
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Re: Mormon Prayer vs. Catholic Prayer

Post by alas » Tue Sep 01, 2020 6:50 am

My only experience with Catholic prayer was when I was under 8 because the family moved then. But I was at my neighbors house, who were cousins, but family member dad married a Catholic and so converted. But the mother asked me to say the prayer on the food, then chewed me out for asking for people I KNEW to be blessed rather than praying for something like world peace. It was “selfish” to ask for blessings on friends and family.

So, um needless to say, I will never be Catholic because I got an early bad taste in my mouth. And human instinct works so that if you taste something new and promptly throw up, that it is poison and your system will never like that food, but always and forever gag on the “poison”.

misterfake371
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Re: Mormon Prayer vs. Catholic Prayer

Post by misterfake371 » Wed Sep 02, 2020 5:36 am

1smartdodog wrote:
Mon Aug 31, 2020 4:50 pm
Curious if you find Catholic prayers any more productive than Mormon prayers. Do you get any better inspiration or intervention?


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Yes, I find Catholic prayers more productive than Mormon prayers. I believe the words to the Catholic prayers were written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, for one thing. So they're more beautiful and succinct and appropriate than anything I could come up with extemporaneously. The prayers express what I should be thinking and feeling. And they're founded on a proper understanding of God and our relationship to God. For example, here are some prayers from my Catholic Prayer book (compiled from traditional sources by Thomas A. Nelson):

Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness. joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born into eternal life.

The Act of Contrition

O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell; but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who art all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of They grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.

And here's a section I love from a long Evening Prayer:

O My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present and dost plainly see me, and that Thou doest observe all my actions, all my thoughts and the most secret motions of my heart. Thou dost watch over me with an incomparable love, every moment bestowing favors and preserving me from evil. Blessed be Thy Holy Name, and may all creatures bless Thy goodness for the benefits which I have ever received from Thee, particularly this day. May the Saints and Angels supply my defect in rendering Thee due thanks. Never permit me to be so base and wicked as to repay Thy goodness with ingratitude and Thy blessings with offenses and injuries.

I've spent a lot of time reading these words out loud, on my knees, and I can tell you that these prayers have become a part of me. They've given me a better understanding of God.

Again, I would say that saying a Catholic prayer is like putting a letter in the mailbox. Um...

I don't get "revelation or inspiration" from saying prayers. It's just my duty to say prayers, and that's it.

It's actually a relief to not search my mind and feelings for a "burning in the bosom" or a "stupor of thought." I don't expect God to answer me like that. I don't really expect God to answer me at all. If He does answer me, with feelings or with thoughts, that would be great, but it hasn't happened yet. I've switched my thinking from, "what do I get out of prayer?" to "God is so good that I want to praise Him and thank Him" and also, "It's my duty to say prayers."

So yeah, there are many times when I feel like I get absolutely nothing out of praying the rosary. I just do it robotically. And I made a commitment to God that I would pray the rosary every day... I guess for the rest of my life... so I want to keep my commitment. But I have faith that my prayer is acceptable to God, even when my mind is wandering, or even when I'm saying the words at lightning speed because I'm in a hurry.

There was one time when the wife of Joel Osteen told the Osteen megachurch, "You don't really go to church for God. You go to church for yourself. Church is so good for you. It improves your life in so many ways." She got some pushback for that statement, and rightfully so, in my opinion. Jesus said, "foxes have holes, and birds have their nests, but the Son of Man doesn't have a place to lay his head." And Paul went through terrible persecutions. And the early Christians in the Roman Empire were fed to the lions. So, I believe that when you follow God, your life could get worse in many ways. So, our attitude with prayer, and church attendance should be, "I'm doing this for God. I love God so much, that I'm praising Him in prayer, even when I don't feel like it, even when I get nothing out of it."

I just wrote a lot. And I probably went off topic a little. I have a tendency to make short answers long. LOL.
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. Ecclesiastes 12:13

misterfake371
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Re: Mormon Prayer vs. Catholic Prayer

Post by misterfake371 » Wed Sep 02, 2020 5:40 am

alas wrote:
Tue Sep 01, 2020 6:50 am
My only experience with Catholic prayer was when I was under 8 because the family moved then. But I was at my neighbors house, who were cousins, but family member dad married a Catholic and so converted. But the mother asked me to say the prayer on the food, then chewed me out for asking for people I KNEW to be blessed rather than praying for something like world peace. It was “selfish” to ask for blessings on friends and family.

So, um needless to say, I will never be Catholic because I got an early bad taste in my mouth. And human instinct works so that if you taste something new and promptly throw up, that it is poison and your system will never like that food, but always and forever gag on the “poison”.
Well the Catholic Church has been around for 2,000 years, and it will be around until the Second Coming, so if you ever want to give Catholicism another chance, it will be there for you. Sorry you had a bad experience with Catholic prayer when you were a kid. Maybe you could try it again as an adult.
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. Ecclesiastes 12:13

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alas
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Re: Mormon Prayer vs. Catholic Prayer

Post by alas » Wed Sep 02, 2020 8:08 am

misterfake371 wrote:
Wed Sep 02, 2020 5:40 am
alas wrote:
Tue Sep 01, 2020 6:50 am
My only experience with Catholic prayer was when I was under 8 because the family moved then. But I was at my neighbors house, who were cousins, but family member dad married a Catholic and so converted. But the mother asked me to say the prayer on the food, then chewed me out for asking for people I KNEW to be blessed rather than praying for something like world peace. It was “selfish” to ask for blessings on friends and family.

So, um needless to say, I will never be Catholic because I got an early bad taste in my mouth. And human instinct works so that if you taste something new and promptly throw up, that it is poison and your system will never like that food, but always and forever gag on the “poison”.
Well the Catholic Church has been around for 2,000 years, and it will be around until the Second Coming, so if you ever want to give Catholicism another chance, it will be there for you. Sorry you had a bad experience with Catholic prayer when you were a kid. Maybe you could try it again as an adult.
Nope. Seen enough as an adult to know the ceremony isn’t for me. I am not one for rituals, although I understand the appeal to others. I have friends Converted away from Mormonism to Catholicism who found great peace in the pomp and rituals, and I do understand why some find the “it’s been around” and the history and all attractive. I visited every Cathedral in Europe I could drag my protesting children to, enough that they cry with me when Notre Dame burns. There is a real beauty to it all. I just can’t do another organized religion, but if I went anywhere, I have to admit the Catholic Church would be tempting.

I do however have a thing for St. Francis. I have about 5 heroes and he is one. I worked for a while with a Franciscan Father...but I already had a thing for St. Francis. I think it started in grade school when I first heard his prayer you quote above. So, in my next life I wanna be a Franciscan monk.

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