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January 11, 2007



Where will this public announcement be, here? Catholic.com?

I suppose it doesn't matter, though I don't stop by Catholic.com as much as I used to.


has been CRUSHING THE BRAINS of myself and half the apologetics staff at Catholic Answers for the last few weeks

Sounds like a MAJOR headache!

But, if this is as tremendous as it sounds, I can only imagine the significant good it will do if successful! ;^)

Jeffrey Stuart


Jimmy Akin

If there were, I couldn't acknowledge them.


NON-SECRET PROJECT #1 (which is very small in comparison to the others): I have been commissioned by an apologetics group outside the United States to write a booklet on Mormonism. A U.S. edition is also likely. More soon.

Please keep us posted on this one.

Brian Day


Is that anything like "Double Secret Probation"? :)

Brian John Schuettler

has been CRUSHING THE BRAINS of myself and half the apologetics staff at Catholic Answers for the last few weeks...

It appears that you are keeping those captured aliens very busy at Catholic.com...remember, no torture!


Outside the United States?

Like where? South America? England? Asia? Europe?

It seems singular to me an extra-American entity would make such a request because Mormonism is an American phenomenon and an American religion.

But why the vagaries? If the project is non-secret, then surely we could stand to know what non-American group has commissioned it.

I love your writings on Mormonism and, as usual, can't wait to read it (hopefully in English, right?)


I love your writings on Mormonism and, as usual, can't wait to read it (hopefully in English, right?)

I'd prefer one in sanskrit myself! ;^)


Of course, Jimmy could tell us everything, but then he'd have to kill us...

Ed Peters

Notice, folks, JA didn't even allude to SECRET PROJECT # 5. That's how secret it is. Er, was.

Kevin Jones

"It seems singular to me an extra-American entity would make such a request because Mormonism is an American phenomenon and an American religion."

American Mormons regularly send missionaries to Latin America, especially.

Ed Peters

KJ is right. Mormonism is growing faster, much faster, outside the US than in.


"I'd prefer one in sanskrit myself!"

That's funny, because Mormonism is basically a greatly improved Hinduism.

John E

How about a secret project where we put the Papal Encyclicals, Catholicism and Fundamentalism, Salvation Controversy, etc., on mp3? I'd even listen if Karl Keating or Jimmy Akin read them. ;-) TextAloud is ok for a few minutes, but even the most monotone human voice is worlds better.


I think one of the secret projects is a Catholic apologetics union. Reminds me of Dan Akroyd in the movie "Gross Pointe Blank" trying to unionize the mafia hit men.

Steve E

Maybe it's because I talk to programmers all day at work, but I wouldn't say that Jimmy and Karl have monotone voices at all!

Although, they are a far cry from the inflections that my co-workers in the Netherlands use :-)

John Stroud

When I hear secret projects I keep thinking Jimmy should be wearing a white lab coat and going down into a secret basement with all these experiments going on ;^)

Greg Elsbernd

John E brings up an interesting idea, and I guess I would like an opinion. I am not in union with Rome, but I do read the papal encyclicals, bulls as well as other writings regularly and have recording equipment. If a person not in union with Rome were to record such items and make them available, would those in union with Rome accept them? Would it help to have them reviewed by someone such as Mr. Akin in order to make sure they were correct readings of the works? This is a project that I feel I would like to take on and make available for free. What is the general opinion here? I don't want to hijack this blog entry, so perhaps if there are those willing to provide feedback and opinions they could email me at my email address.

God Bless,
Deacon Greg Elsbernd

Roamin' Roman

Deacon Greg,

I think that's a great idea, I think others would be very interested, and I don't think any of us who are in union with Rome would have a problem with you doing it. I don't know if anyone else is doing something like this yet, might want to check around first and also see if any of the podcasters are doing this (or might be interested in helping you do a new podcast) There also may be (believe it or not) copyright issues if it is of current papal writings (though, unless it's something the USCCB has printing rights to, you're probably safe). But, great idea - I hope you are able to pursue it!

I also pray that you continue to be open and inspired by the writings of the popes -- and open to wherever your studies may lead you, even perhaps over the Tiber and through the woods to St. Peter's Basilica! (hey, you ARE posting on a Catholic apologist's blog... ;)

I think it is wonderful how many non-Catholics have discovered that the "old guy" in Rome does have so many amazing things to teach us all. It really urges me, as a Catholic, on in my own study when I hear from all of you. I wish that more Catholics would realize what they are missing by not paying closer attention to the faith they profess to believe. Nothing like having gourmet food served to you on a silver platter and... ignoring it. Argh.


"American Mormons regularly send missionaries to Latin America, especially."

Do they really? This is news to me because I was completely clueless about the efforts of Mormonism to evangelize the world through a concerted missionary effort. I had no idea. This is such news. I was sooo wrong about the inherent 18th century American flavor that still pervades all of Mormonism's doctrines and dogma.

Of course! Now that they are doing missionary work, they couldn't possibly be considered an American religion. I mean they started in America and are run exclusively by Americans and are headquatered in Utah (which is an American state) but that has nothing to do with anything now that they send missionaries to places that are not-America.

So Amazing!!


StubbleSpark wrote:

"Outside the United States?

"Like where? South America? England? Asia? Europe?"

And now for some place completely different!
It's extraterrestrial! On Kolob!

It must be true;
I feel a burning in my breast that it is so!
No, wait ,... it's just the jalapenos!



You wouldn't believe how many blonde haired, blue eyed, Utah boys(and girls), are walking the streets of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic these days! Sometimes I go out of my way to chat with them, only so I can speak a little English with some fellow Americans! This very morning, as I was driving by a Mormon Church, I thought "How odd those Mormons are with their Churches! They use that pointy little esoteric sort of steeple, and nowhere can be found a cross. Yet they claim to be followers of Jesus?? Are they afraid of putting a cross on their building?

And also, all the Church's are built almost exactly the same, with a real trademarked like appearance, kind of like a stipped down, bare bones, whitewashed Burger King or McDonalds, with space needle type spire.
Not only that, but I think all kinds of strange groups and religions migrate to Latin America. And one reason for this is that the poor Catholics are 'real easy pickins'... so to say. I think with many extremely poor people, with very little, or no, education, there is a desire for some sort of meaning or value in their lives. And I think it almost doesn't matter what the belief or teaching is. They just like to 'belong'.... and maybe be told that they are 'special'in some way. Also, for those who don't have money,which is about 80 percent of the population, they need more entertainment than just playing dominoes, in their free time. So, almost any group, no matter what the belief, is better than nothing! Throw in a few lies to make them feel important,like the necessity to tithe, prophesy, speak in tongues, etc..and you've got yourself a congregation!
These are the tactics of these groups, and there are very many varieties..even Mennonites! And even as the local music is Merengue and Barchata, you can always hear some good ole rock n Roll(Christian, of course),and plenty of southern type preaching, as you pass by their churches! Really makes me feel like I'm back in the States!

Unfortuantely, what you don't hear much from the majority Catholics, is..."Tantum Ergo Sacramentum.."

Maybe B16 will turn things around?


I hope your Mormonism pamphlet is good. I showed the existing stuff at Catholic Answers to a Mormon friend of mine who is pretty well-versed in LDS theology (and IMO very honest about it) and she wasn't terribly impressed with, say, the "Mormon Stumpers." She says it's obvious that the writer doesn't know all that much about LDS theology and that there are detailed answers to all the "Stumpers;" also, that some of the descriptions of LDS theology are not accurate, or at least are not phrased fairly. (Sorry I don't have details)

If you ask me, what the world needs is a detailed description of the fundamentals of LDS theology, including a glossary defining the terms that they understand to mean something different from what most Christians do. (Example: "Godhead." "Exaltation." "Sacrament.") It's hard even for LDS people to find such a thing, as I found out when I asked my friends if they had anything similar to, say, the Compendium of the Catechism, so that we could understand the differences between us.

The linguistic issue is a serious barrier to understanding the deep differences between Mormonism and most Christians. "We believe in a Father, a Son, and a Holy Spirit, all one Godhead, too!" is something they can say truthfully, but they mean something different than we do. At the high levels of the LDS church there is a deliberate effort, I believe, to blur the distinctions between Mormonism and most Christian denominations and Churches. My friend, for example, didn't even realize until recently that most Christians do not believe that God the Father has a physical body, so she never knew it was a point of difference.


I should add that, if such a description and glossary were published, it would be a good idea to run it by some actual Mormon theologians to give them a chance to say, "Yes, this accurately describes what we believe."

The "data" (description of real LDS beliefs) needs to be separated from the "analysis" (critical examination of those beliefs); and while we and the LDS theologians will not agree on the analysis, it is only fair that we come to a point where we agree on the "data." Otherwise, we will be critically analyzing a straw man.

One of the things I find intellectually pleasing about Catholicism is that our "data" is not obscure or arcane, but is available for anyone to examine, in the form of our catechism, compendium, Canon law, etc. Now if only most of our critics would actually take a look at it.


A. Williams, I've noticed the "trademarked" appearance of LDS houses of worship as well, though in my experience, the Kingdom Halls of Jehovah's Witnesses are all almost identical! I wonder if it is some interpretation of a Biblical injunction or something.


Re: encyclicals

Funny you should ask this. The Vatican website makes a bunch of encyclicals freely readable on their website, but they aren't public domain to do whatever we like with them. Alas.

Assuming the US Bishops sent in all the relevant copyright renewals back in the day (which I do assume),
anything published before 1923 is fair game in the US. (If you're outside the US, you'll have to look the copyright law up yourself.) However, a _translation_ published after 1923 of a pre-1923 work is still going to be under copyright.

Unfortunately, the Vatican website translations don't say when they were done. They seem to be modern (ie, post-1923).

Some sites have translations available (like EWTN), but it's not always clear what their source was. However, many libraries do have copies of old translations, if you look around. (Just don't get any of the ones with titles like THE POPE'S EVIL EVIL ENCYCLICAL FROM BABYLON!) :)

If, however, you chose to make your own translation from a pre-1923 Latin version, you'd be free and clear. Unfortunately, that'd also be a pain in the butt.

Good luck! And feel free to save the footnotes till the end.... :)


Jimmy has sooooo many secret projects you start to wonder....... Is he working for the Chinese Apologist Staff (CAS)? Just kidding!

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