The letter appearing in Sunday’s paper (Feb. 12) written by Mr. Jeff Howard regarding the Mormon Church was interesting and informative. However, his brief summary of the history of the Christian church is not accurate. History shows that the church existed pretty much in its New Testament format up until the time that Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire in A.D. 380. A few decades later the Roman Empire fell as invading troops overran the western half of the Empire. The fall of the Empire and resulting loss of its civilizing power brought about the Dark, or Middle, Ages — not the persecution of the church as stated by Mr. Howard. Actually, the church had remained firm, and even grew, under periodic times of persecution by Rome for 300 years. The church gradually began to change after it was embraced by Rome. Slowly, two branches emerged. One, with headquarters in Rome, became known as the Roman Catholic Church. The other whose headquarters were in Constantinople became known as the (Eastern) Orthodox Church. In general, this was the status of the church for the next thousand years. Change began appearing in the Roman Catholic Church in the early 1500s and continued for the next century or so. This period in church history is known as the Protestant Reformation. The Reformation resulted in a church having three branches: Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and protestant. Intially there were four protestant off-shoots: Lutheran, Anglican, Reformed, and Anabaptist. From these four come many, but not all, of the other denominations that exist today. Some, such as the Church of the Latter-day Saints, began as independent movements and are not off-shoots of an already established denomination.
Clyde O. Kale