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WHY I QUIT MHFM!

The Dimond Brothers' Fatal Flaw on Sedevacantism & Orthodoxy
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MHFM on Orthodoxy: Censoring and Faulty Analysis


Months after the John Pontrello book debacle, I came across a video about Sedevacantism created by a man named Jay Dyer. [15] Its content captured my undivided attention and combined with the teachings found in his other related articles and videos; I became convinced he was stating fact. I will address the video on Sedevacantism later on as it deals with the "human relations" aspect of sedevacantism that pose a devastating argument against this position. I prefer instead, at this time, to speak of a crucial theological doctrine: the essence/energy distinction.

The Dimonds have released a video against this Orthodox doctrinal position [16] in the hope that by doing so it will calm their troubled flock, those “sheep” they have thus far managed to rustle and herd into the corral of sedevacantism. This type of video attack is a common self-serving tactic used (rather than requesting an actual debate) against those Orthodox evangelicals the Dimonds denigrate as being "Eastern Schismatics" and/or the "so-called Orthodox" when referring to adherents of Eastern Orthodoxy following the Great Schism of 1054; which separated the Roman (Latin) and Eastern Catholic Churches.

Orthodoxy Exposed

First video of MHFM against the Orthodox

At the time I had not paid any real attention to the theological topic of the essence/energy distinction, but after listening to Jay Dyer and reading / studying his material, I came to the realization that it wasn’t the Orthodox but rather the Dimonds who did not know what they were talking about. At first I merely suspected the Dimonds of being intellectually dishonest but after the release of their second video against Orthodoxy, I knew my suspicion of their dishonesty was in fact correct, as they attacked Jay Dyer‘s stated positions on the subject, without naming him. [17].

Their commentary under their first video against the Orthodox is an expressed admission of their “bad will”:

Dyer Comment

Twitter, Jay Dyer

“By the way, since the publication of this video (Eastern ‘Orthodoxy’ Exposed: Their Heretical Doctrine of God), a few adherents of Eastern ‘Orthodoxy’ have attempted what can correctly be called pathetic and superficial responses to the arguments and the presentation. There has not been one serious response. A serious response would actually interact with the main arguments presented in the video concerning their denial of God’s immutability and their belief in a ‘god’ who, they admit, is exceeded and surpassed by the divine essence. But none of the aforementioned responses even attempt to specifically address those arguments. They won’t deal with those points. … As an example of the falsity such heretics put out, one Eastern ‘Orthodox’ heretic (who has changed his religion five times in the past 16 or so years, having gone from Calvinist to ‘Catholic’ to ‘Orthodox’ to ‘Catholic’ to Agnostic back to ‘Orthodox’) said this about our video: "So what they are talking about in that video [meaning MHFM's video] they don't even know what our position is, the Light of Tabor is not a created light." He's arguing that we don't even know what their position is because we supposedly hold or said that they believe the Light of Tabor to be created. Well, anyone who watched our video knows that we correctly represented their position as 'uncreated light' (e.g. 2:49 mark of the video). We never said that they believe the Light of Tabor was a created light. He thus totally misrepresented what's in our video and circulated that nonsense to his fellow schismatics. That gives you an idea of the lack of accuracy of many of his other claims. The same individual regularly misrepresents sources by giving ‘summaries’ instead of actual quotations. Beware of heretics who don’t provide specific citations when they ‘summarize’ what the fathers or a council said. In our video, we provide specific clips or citations that anyone can look up. Although it’s not necessary, if time permits we might expose some of the revealing failures, lies and errors of the aforementioned attempted responses to our video.”

That quote is clearly referring to Jay Dyer, even if they do not name him. His journey into Orthodoxy aligns with what the Dimonds reports, although the slanderous accusations and skewed tone does not reflect at all the reality of the events that Jay Dyer mentions in a video describing the stages of his eventual conversion to Eastern Orthodoxy. [18] The accusation that Jay Dyer does not provide references to the sources he uses in his videos, is an blatant and outright lie. Anyone who has viewed Jay’s videos can confirm / attest to this fact. [19]

The Dimond Brothers should be ashamed of themselves for “bearing false witness” against their “neighbor”; which according to their own words is a mortal sin.

Why do you think the Dimonds hid the identity of Jay Dyer in their video? I, for one, believe it’s because they see him as being one of the biggest threats to the continued success of their religious enterprise. It's their strategy to never openly debate with him. Jay Dyer would crush Peter Dimond during a “real” debate. In my opinion, the first video of MHFM on the Orthodox was a vain attempt at removing Jay Dyer as a threat without naming him directly and by maliciously circumventing the actual issue in the hope that those people, they hold to be “infected” by him, would abandon their research and interest in Eastern Orthodoxy.

When Peter Dimond complains of the misinterpretation of MHFM’s position on Orthodoxy concerning the "essence/energy distinction", it is nothing more than a diversion tactic. I arrived at this conclusion after spending time going over the MHFM Twitter pages and reading the responses from their followers. This diversion tactic is used so as to avoid having to deal with the root cause of the problem. And what about this root cause then?

I will avoid using overly technical terms on this subject of the divine “essence/energy distinction”. Several links to some of Jay Dyer’s videos / articles are made available at the end of my presentation for this specific purpose. I prefer rather to first synthesize this doctrine to the best of my ability and then to develop my position exposing the weaknesses / errors of the Dimonds’ argument on this subject.

So, what is this essence/energy distinction? The “essence” of God remains inaccessible to humans. That is why only the “energies” of God, that is, the emanation of the glory of God, can be seen with the non-rational eye of the human mind. The problem, when one speaks of divine essence, is that the Roman Catholic doctrine on the definition to be given to the “divine simplicity” is absolutist. We then speak of “absolute divine simplicity” or “absolute simplicity”. All relationships, actions, and all attributes of God are irreducibly identified with its simple nature, that is, its essence. It is a simplicity in which one would find neither distinctions nor compositions. [20]

The Orthodox believe in “divine simplicity”, but not “absolutist divine simplicity”. According to Jay Dyer, the Roman vision of this “simplicity” was born of Hellenistic assumptions in their dialectic. And if this doctrine owes its success and its anchoring in Roman Catholic doctrine after the first millennium, it is among other things due to the influence of Thomas Aquinas’ presuppositions on divine essence that is found in Thomism and Scholasticism. With the issuance of Pope Leo XIII’s 1879 encyclical Aeterni Patris, Thomism became the official undrlying philosophy of the Roman Catholic Church. [21]

In 681, the sixth ecumenical council, Constantinople III, dogmatically proclaims the "essence/energy distinction" in relation to Christ and his two natures. This council had been convinced by the book of St. Maximus the Confessor in his correspondence with Pyrrhus. The concept of mono-energy is considered anathema. [22]

Note that Pope Saint Agatho had written a letter to the council expressing his favorable conclusions. Moreover, he explained them in explicit detail by literally using the term "energy." This shows that this theological point of the distinction between essence and energy was addressed in the dogmatic proclamations of the Third Constantinople Council.

Pope Agatho : “For we equally detest the blasphemy of division and of commixture. For when we confess two natures and two natural wills, and two natural operations (energies in Greek) in our one Lord Jesus Christ, we do not assert that they are contrary or opposed one to the other (as those who err from the path of truth and accuse the apostolic tradition of doing. Far be this impiety from the hearts of the faithful!), nor as though separated (per se separated) in two persons or subsistences, but we say that as the same our Lord Jesus Christ has two natures so also he has two natural wills and operations (energies in Greek), to wit, the divine and the human: the divine will and operation he has in common with the coessential Father from all eternity: the human, he has received from us, taken with our nature in time. This is the apostolic and evangelic tradition, which the spiritual mother of your most felicitous empire, the Apostolic Church of Christ, holds.” [23]

Now, for you to understand why it is so important to reflect on this theological point, read the following question: In the episode of the Transfiguration, when Jesus Christ made manifest the Divine Light of God, on Mount Thabor, was this light created? No, obviously not. [24]

Luke 9:28-36- “And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering. And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias: Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him. And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said. While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud. And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone. And they kept it close, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen.”

In the same way, how could Moses have spoken with God "face to face, as a man speaks unto his friend" if God is an absolutely simple essence?

Exodus 33:8-11 – “And it came to pass, when Moses went out unto the tabernacle, that all the people rose up, and stood every man at his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he was gone into the tabernacle. And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the LORD talked with Moses. And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand at the tabernacle door: and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man in his tent door. And the LORD spoke unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.”

This God who spoke face to face with Moses, was it a hologram, a creation? Remember that the essence of God remains inaccessible to humans. The essence/energy distinction is the explanation of this problem. More precisely, these examples are called Theophanies in theology, that is to say divine manifestations. There are numerous examples in the Bible. As Jay Dyer says, “These manifestations of God are not created holograms, they’re not angels. They are God Himself. They are the divine energies of God.” [25]

Those who persist in believing in “absolute divine simplicity” will, sooner or later, find themselves confronting absurd conclusions in Christology. All the actions of God would then become perfectly equal to the divine essence. Christ creating the world would become synonymous with Jesus walking on the water. According to Jay Dyer, such actions would then be only "emanations of His essence -- leading directly to Neoplatonism. He goes on to say that absolute divine simplicity leads to Perennialism, explaining step by step how one arrived at Vatican II and a context in which theologians deny the divinity of Jesus Christ. [26] If what we experience are only holograms or effects created by God, then it means one can never experience on earth a direct link with God. This would lead directly to Atheism, for one could never know who God really is. [27] And this while He revealed Himself to us on Mount Sinai. Jay Dyer makes his explanation consistent of what God says in Exodus 3:14: "I am that I am.” [28] It is not a supreme essence but the Almighty Father who presents himself by I am a Person, not an unknown syncretist being.

Orthodoxy Trinity

Scheme of the Trinity according to Orthodox and Catholics

All this considered, the Trinity becomes more logical in the relationship to His divine persons. When one recites "I believe in God, the Father Almighty", it is to recognize that God the Father is the only cause. St. Gregory Nazianzus said that everything the Father has, the Son has, except for being the sole cause. Thus, there is no double procession of the Holy Spirit. There is only one cause and it is personal: the Father. [29]

I hope I have synthesized appropriately the theological point on the energy/essence distinction. To try and simply it further let me use the analogy: it's like the sun. When we are struck by the warm and soothing rays of sunshine, it is not wrong for us to say that it is the sun itself that makes us feel good. This truth, however, does not deny the fact that there is only one sun that we see in the sky but which remains inaccessible to us in its center. [30]

At this point we can pass to a short review of the MHFM video on this point. Peter Dimond spoke mostly of the “concentration" tactics used in prayer practiced by Orthodox monks, called “Hesychasm”. It is as if one were trying to criticize the Benedictine monks' “Lectio Divina”, the Order the Dimond purport themselves to belong to, when monks lower their heads to the Bible to meditate and pray. [31]

Lecto Divina

Lectio Divina:
"By spending time pondering scripture we grow into a relationship with Christ, the living Word. This is a characteristically Benedictine way of praying."

Benedictine position for Lectio Divina

But we do not need to go extremes to refute the Dimonds. Mysticism also exists in the history of Catholicism and it is obvious that the Dimonds are attempting another diversion. After reading their recent statements against the Orthodox, since the release of their film, I am convinced of that. They apply this “diversionary tactic” when they happen across a flaw, a misstatement, and/or a simple misunderstanding expressed by an Orthodox on this very complex subject with its robust technical vocabulary. The Dimonds revert to this tactic in an attempt to deflect themselves away from having to respond to and/or deal with the logical questions that rise up and stand out about the subject of “absolute divine simplicity”. Their comparison of Orthodox prayer as being a form of “Yoga” is an absurd joke. The Orthodox "Seraphim Rose" correctly believed in the essence/energy distinction, and yet wrote an entire book against yoga.

Jay Dyer : “Some of these clowns have said the palamite tradition is Yoga. ‘You guys do yoga.’ What idociy. It’s not yoga. And Meyendorf is good on this. He explains how we don’t do yoga. Seraphim Rose has a whole book against yoga.” [32]

I suspect that the Dimonds actually believe they have found a simple, but not so "honorable" or "glorious", way to rid themselves of a problem without risking the annoying problem of “losing face”. For example, their use of Saint Athanasius marks the end of the debate they lost.

Out of Context

Taken out of context St. Athanasius quote by the Dimonds

For example, their use of Saint Athanasius marks the end of the debate they lost. [33] Peter Dimond cut out part of a quote in Athanasius' work, De Decretis, to try to prove that this saint would have taught the absolute divine simplicity as understood by MHFM. [34] In his video shot live on February 19, 2019, I Am That I Am - God's Name, St. Athanasius & Objections, Jay Dyer indirectly refuted the Dimonds. Here is what he could have said to Peter Dimond in the middle of a debate to absolutely embarrass him:

Jay Dyer: “There cannot be the slightest doubt that for Athanasius the distinction between the willing of God and the being/essence of God are real ontological distinction. So you literally just made a clown fool of yourself. Because the entire argument: thank you for handing that to me. … You just handed to me the fact that you missed the entire context of the argument of Athanasius against the Arians, for wrenching out a paragraph proof text that is perfectly an orthodox statement of Divine simplicity, and you miss the whole argument and undercut it by trying to make it into a proponent of Thomism. Utterly stupid.” [35]

That Catholics accuse Orthodox of being "polytheists" for believing in this doctrine of essence/ energy distinction is already an hypocrisy when one claims to believe in the real presence in the Eucharist. The following quote is worth mentioning to dismiss this crude charge:

“To the philosophical objection that he was introducing a “second and lower God” beside the unique godhead, Palamas replied over and over again that no multiplicity of divine manifestations could effect the unity of God, for God is beyond the categories of whole and parts and, while in His essence always remaining unknowable, reveals Himself wholly in each energy as the living God.” [36]

These people do not seem to understand that this doctrine, in a manner of speaking which would include the fact that Jesus, the Son of God, is the Wisdom of God, does not actually imply a strict identification between nature (hypostasis) and the operation (energy). Jay Dyer says in this regard that "To strictly identify the Son of God with the will of God would lead to massive errors and heresies, such as the absurd notion the Son generates Himself.” [37] He goes on to say that the attributes of God such as goodness, love, mercy, providence, wisdom, etc., are not absolute definitions of the divine nature, for the divine nature surpasses any singular definition. But that does not mean that when you use an attribute you do not want to signify God as a whole. For example, if we spoke of Jesus in speaking of his divine nature, it would not be a strict definition of Jesus with his two natures, but it would not be heretical as long as it is believed that Jesus has two natures. [38] Another way to say it: to speak of Wisdom or Providence by wanting to speak of God, is not heretical as long as one does not seek to withdraw the other attributes that belong to God.

Once again, I suspect “dishonesty” on the part of the Dimonds, who deliberately keep their supporters in a state of confusion so as to keep control of a situation that otherwise, would escape them completely; resulting, possibly, in the mass exodus / conversion of their sedevacantist base into Eastern Orthodoxy. They and their followers are quick to condemn anyone who does not understand immediately that the (Novus Ordo) new Mass should not be attended after consulting their material. [39] If the Dimonds applied their own strict principles to themselves, when considering the advanced theological expertise they claim to possess, they should at least acknowledge their errors, their lack of flexibility and/or their inability to understand the essence/energy distinction. For Jay Dyer, the Dimonds are "clowns" with whom one should not waste one's time. [40] If one assumes that the Trinity is a mystery, those who criticize the essence/energy distinction should be humble if they cannot understand the process as a whole, instead of rejecting everything in its entirety by not correctly distinguishing the words of St. Athanasius. They would do better to focus on the obvious flaws in their reasoning and what they should conclude by clinging to absolute divine simplicity.

Jay Dyer: “God’s essence remains unknowable always. God reveals Himself wholly in each energy as the living God. Even if it’s the energy of Providence. And how can God be wholly present in each energy? Because it’s a mystery, bro! That’s why it’s a revealed doctrine and not a philosophic doctrine.” [41]

In fact, an overview would help them to see more clearly. And that's exactly what we need to talk about at this point with “papal supremacy”


Endnotes:

[15] Jay Dyer, SedevacAUTISM Refuted: Trailer Park Cults & "Popes"; June 4, 2018: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSF64exGgRY

[16] Vaticancatholic, Eastern "Orthodoxy" Exposed: Their Heretical Doctrine Of God; May 26, 2018: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d07mgLoOW8g

[17] Vaticancatholic, Catholicism vs. An Eastern “Orthodox” View On The Divine Essence; Jan. 31, 2019: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LT8NaQszsRo ; 7m02s.

[18] Jay Dyer, Why I Became Orthodox; Dec. 15, 2018: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VE6fYcyy2O8

[19] See for example at 11m20s of the video that the Dimonds used for theirs (without giving the source though): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3hprH0oc_I. And also Jay Dyer’s Twitter page: https://twitter.com/Jay_D007/media

[20] Cit. Jay Dyer, Definitions of Various Relevant Theological Terms, April 12, 2010: https://jaysanalysis.com/2010/04/12/definitions-of-various-relevant-theological-terms/

[21] Brittanica.com, Thomism: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Thomism

[22] Cit. Jesus Is Lord, A Defense of Saint Gregory Palamas, Oct. 21, 2018 : https://papacyrefuted.blogspot.com/2018/10/a-defense-of-saint-gregory-palamas.html

[23] Jay Dyer, Roman Catholic Absolute Divine Simplicity Refuted; Sep. 21, 2018 : https://jaysanalysis.com/2018/09/21/a/

[24] Jay Dyer, The Gospel IS Theosis: Direct Knowledge of God; May 27, 2018: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yx0khK_Qe1w ; 5m53s.

[25] Dyer, Direct Knowledge ; 10m.32s

[26] Jay Dyer, I Am That I Am, Essence-Energy, St. Athanasius & Wandering Bishop Sedevacantist Cults; Feb. 19, 2019: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSFeArXy-S8 ; 1h32m50s.

[27] Argument of St. Gregory Palamas (orthodoxe team) to Baarlam (roman team) during their debate on the essence/energy distinction.

[28] Exodus 3 :14 – “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.”

[29] Dyer, I Am ; 1h11m50s.

[30] It was apparently the favorite analogy of St. Palamas.

[31] We find an axemple here: https://www.benedictines.org.uk/traditions

[32] Dyer, I Am ; 54m50s. Also, Father Seraphim Rose, Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future, Saint Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 1996. Available on Amazon : https://www.amazon.com/Orthodoxy-Religion-Future-Seraphim-Rose-ebook/dp/B00Q58P0FQ

[33] 33- See minute 8 of MHFM’s video, “Orthodox” View.

[34] Dyer, I Am ; 58m20s.

[35] Ibid ; 2h08m.10s

[36] John Meyendorff, St. Gregory Palamas and Orthodox Spirituality, p. 121. Cit Jay Dyer, Eternal Manifestation, Simplicity & The Uncreated Energies, Feb. 19, 2019 : https://jaysanalysis.com/2019/02/19/eternal-manifestation-simplicity-the-uncreated-energies-jay-dyer/

[37] Dyer, Absolute Divine Simplicity Refuted.

[38] Dyer, I Am ; 1h8m38s.

[39] Example with a pro-MHFM : Twitter, CatholicTrue, Dec. 23, 2018: https://twitter.com/catholictrue/status/1076792976083378176: "But to go in face of the evidence [that the New Mass is invalid] is a mortal sin."

[40] Twitter, Jay Dyer, March 3, 2019 : https://twitter.com/Jay_D007/status/1102258858351828993. “These clowns have no idea what they’re arguing against. Don’t waste your time with them.”

[41] Dyer, I Am ; 56m.


 

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