When is a Mormon prophet speaking as a prophet? Nobody knows for sure.

QuestionMormon author Jana Riess continues to receive criticism for her public disagreement with certain statements from Mormon prophets and apostles. In analyzing this criticism on her blog, Dr. Riess recently asked, “When is a Mormon prophet speaking as a prophet? What does it mean to ‘follow the prophet’ in Mormonism?”

Lamenting the fact that some Mormons erroneously “accept on faith that every word that comes from the mouth of an apostle or prophet in a church setting is perfect and immutable truth,” Dr. Riess goes on to express her gratitude for these Church leaders and confirms that she does sustain them in their callings. She writes,

“That does not mean, however, that they cannot be wrong. They are culturally conditioned human beings, just as I am; they are influenced by their time and place in history, just as we all are. Prophets are inspired at times to give great counsel, but they are not infallible…”

She asks, “…how do we know they are speaking because they are moved by the Holy Ghost, and not simply because they are expressing their cultural views…?” Her answer: “Maybe we know because we have a moment of testimony ourselves, a stirring in our own heart that communicates the holiness of what has been said.”

Dr. Riess seems to be suggesting that Mormon prophets and apostles can be wrong about what they think the Holy Ghost is telling them (and is directing them to pass on to the members of the Church via their Church callings), while individual members don’t experience such ambiguity and will correctly understand what the Holy Ghost is telling them via personal testimony.

Think about this for a minute. If this is true, what is the reason for latter-day prophets and apostles? If a Mormon’s personal testimony is more trustworthy than the pronouncements of Mormon prophets and apostles, wouldn’t it be best to cut out the unstable middle-men and stick with one’s own personal revelation?

Dr. Riess’ idea is a highly tenuous one. She gives LDS prophets and apostles a pass because they are culturally conditioned human beings who are influenced by their time and place in history; thus, they are subject to mistaking their cultural views for divine inspiration. Yet, as she has pointed out, so is she. How can she be sure that her personal testimony is not the natural outcome of her own conditioning that she unfortunately mistakes for divine inspiration?

Dr. Riess does not address this question, but she does attempt to provide a solution to the is-he-speaking-as-a-prophet-or-not question for times when a personal testimony is not forthcoming. In those instances, she says, “we lean on the received tradition through scripture and the words of other leaders.” Dr. Riess quotes LDS Apostle Todd Christofferson:

“The Church will know by the testimony of the Holy Ghost in the body of the members, whether the brethren in voicing their views are ‘moved upon by the Holy Ghost’: and in due time that knowledge will be made manifest.”

This begs the question. On what basis does Dr. Riess accept Mr. Christofferson’s counsel as true? He is “a culturally conditioned human being.” He is “not infallible.” He could be wrong. And so could “the body of the [Church] members,” as has been demonstrated all throughout the Mormon Church’s history.

Consider Joseph Smith’s failed Kirtland Bank revelation, Brigham Young’s Adam-God doctrine, John Taylor’s declarations about the never-ending doctrine of plural marriage, and the not-so-long-ago-abandoned racial discrimination that permeated the teachings of multiple Mormon prophets and apostles. The testimony of “the body of the members” in each of these cases (and others) was that these teachings were inspired by God — that the prophets and apostles were, in fact, “moved upon by the Holy Ghost” to say these things. At least, this is what Church members believed for a long time. And in the case of the Mormon teachings on the inferiority of the black race, Church members believed it (and acted on it) for more than a century! Yet “in due time” it was determined that many Church leaders had been merely “voicing their [personal] views” while mistaking them for divine counsel; so the Mormon Church changed course.

Now Mormons cross their fingers and hope that the leaders who jettisoned previously affirmed (official) LDS doctrines did so as moved upon by the Holy Ghost. But if not, in due time that knowledge will be made manifest.

Or not.

Think about this for a minute. If Dr. Riess is correct, this whole premise taught by Apostle Christofferson, instead of being great, inspired counsel, may be just the product of a fallible man mistaking his culturally-driven views for the voice of God.

If even Mormon prophets and apostles can’t tell whether they are being moved upon by the Holy Ghost, what hope is there that a rank-and-file Mormon will be able to discern the real source of his or her own “testimony”?

The biblical view of a true prophet of God is one that does not allow for these kinds of mistakes. A true prophet of God will not give his own views or popular opinion in place of God’s words (Deuteronomy 18:15-22). That, according to God, is reserved for false prophets (Jeremiah 23:25-32).

I encourage you, friends, to think about this for a minute.


About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.
This entry was posted in Authority and Doctrine, LDS Church, Mormon Leaders, Prophets and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to When is a Mormon prophet speaking as a prophet? Nobody knows for sure.

  1. cattyjane says:

    How do you know when and LDS Prophet is lying? His lips are moving. I heard this joke in reference to another denomination but it works for LDS as well.

  2. falcon says:

    Most of what these prophets, apostles and other LDS leaders speak forth today is a lot of rah rah rah go-team-go sort of pronouncements. It isn’t anything different from what any secular motivational speaker would say. So the revelation isn’t much more than some form of exhortation.
    Didn’t we just have a thread that talked about LDS members “voting” in GC about church doctrinal matters? In-other-words the members “sustain” the prophet’s utterances. So actually in the realm of LDS “counts-doesn’t-count” scenario, what the prophet is saying is merely his opinion and can be kept or tossed-out by individual members, right? Wrong! The faithful LDS member grasps on to every word that the prophet says and treats it like the oracle of the Mormon god.
    When Smith first created his religion, one of the attractive features to those who followed him, was that they could get revelation also. That’s a powerful concept for rank-and-file folks. Well Smith soon had to dump that idea because if the individual members could receive this type of revelation, Smith’s own position and power would be effected negatively.
    The other feature of Mormonism that goes with revelation is confirming truth through emotion. So if the LDS person gets a positive emotion then what is being considered is true. So it’s “feel good=true; feel bad=false”. So if someone gets a feeling that is bad about what the prophet says and makes the prophet feel good, then it must be Satan tempting the rank-and-file member, right?
    Bottom line is that these LDS folks hang-on everything said by the leadership of the LDS church. It’s part of the culture and part of the fun of being a part of the “one true church” with a leader that hears directly from the Mormon god.

  3. Kate says:

    The crazy this church has become is mind blowing. Gone are the days of “Follow the prophet, he knows the way!” This church has become something I don’t even recognize. What has happened to ” When the prophet speaks. The thinking has been done.” What has happened to the revelations that are given twice a year at General Conference? General Conference has become nothing but inspirational talks that anyone can listen to on any given Sunday in any given LDS ward by any given church member. LDS leaders have become so afraid of their words being broadcasted across the Internet that they’ve stopped being leaders. What revelations have Thomas Monson ever given? None. Just uplifting stories and faith promoting words twice a year. The LDS God has been silent for years.

  4. homeschoolmom says:

    Jana Riess’s solution to this problem reminds me of the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books I used to read when I was a kid, only in this case she recommends, “Choose Your Own Truth.”

  5. falcon says:

    Here’s another place that the faithful LDS member needs to open the Bible and see what a prophet and prophesy is as defined specifically in the NT.
    I’m of the opinion that prophets and prophesy didn’t disappear with the close of the cannon of Scripture. There are Christians, namely dispensationalists, who do however. I don’t really want to get into an argument/discussion regarding this but they would base their doctrinal stance primarily on First Corinthians 13:9-10 which says, “For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away……..”
    The “perfect” to them is the Bible. The “perfect” to those of us who are, for lack of a better term full gospel in our orientation, is Jesus. Jesus is the “perfect” and He will return to establish His Kingdom. Until His return we depend on the Holy Spirit, who is God’s Gift to the Church, and the manifestation of the Spirit, via the Gifts outlined in First Corinthians chapters 12-14.
    What the NT reveals regarding prophets and prophecy is not what is practiced by the LDS church. For example in First Corinthians 14:29-32 it says: “And let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgment. But if a revelation is made to another who is seated, let the first keep silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted; and the spirits of the prophets are subject to prophets; for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.”
    It should also be remembered that women fulfilled the role of prophetess in the Church (see Acts 21:9) something women don’t do in the LDS church.
    I think it’s always a good idea to consult Scripture in order to establish how God intends His Church to function. By “Church” I mean the Mystical Body of Christ made up of all believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. When I say “believe” I mean “trusting in Christ completely for our salvation a part from any works we might do to qualify for eternal life”. When I say “Jesus” I am not referring to a created Being but to the Second Person of the trinity who is eternal.
    Sorry for getting nit picky but I’ve learned when dealing with cults or aberrant religious sects it’s important to define terms.

  6. falcon says:

    So any way you look at it, “the church” is to test a prophet to see if his prophesy lines up with the Word of God. The other thing, when a prophet foretells some future event, did it come to pass? This is nothing like baseball whereby if a hitter has a batting average of .300 it’s considered acceptable. The batting average for a prophet foretelling the future has to be perfect. No excuses!
    There is the case where a prophet will bring forth a message to encourage the church. This is more global in nature and while subject to test, doesn’t affect doctrine or predict a future event.

    The Mormon prophets have proven time and again, over the years, that they are simply prophesying out of their own imaginations. There is no consistency and certainly no agreement with the Word of God. The Mormon prophets have been religious free agents pulling ideas out of their hat and foisting them on a people who are willing to receive them. In this, the people bear some responsibility.

  7. Rick B says:

    I honestly dont understand how lds TAke their beliefe seriously anymore with all the former statmenets that contrdict what former prophets have said and taught.

    I will post a few of the 14 fundamentals in following the prophet. Now before someone comes along and complains that these were written by a “Non-Prophet” So that means we can discard them, I want to remind people of a few facts.

    1. When Elder Benson wrote these things, while he was not at the time a LDS (False) Prophet. The Church did not deny any of these things, in fact they believed them.

    2. Elder Benson went on to become a LDS (False) Prophet and He never retracted these 14 fundamentals in following the prophet.

    3. These are all backed up with LDS scripture to help support and claim they are true, at least according to LDS.

    So the first one says.

    First: The prophet is the only man who speaks for the Lord in everything.

    In section 132, verse 7, of the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord speaks of the Prophet–the President–and says: “There is never but one on the earth at a time on whom his power and the keys of this priesthood are conferred.” Then in section 21, verses 4-6, the Lord states:

    Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me;

    For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.

    For by doing these things the gates of hell shall not prevail against you.

    Did you hear what the Lord said about the words of the prophet? We are to “give heed unto all his words”–as if from the Lord’s “own mouth.”

    The first on should settle everything, only the Prophet can speak for God, all these debates among LDS should simply end right here with this.

    Now if this one is True, Lets throw out the 4 standard works.

    Second: The living prophet is more vital to us than the standard works.

    President Wilford Woodruff tells of an interesting incident that occurred in the days of the Prophet Joseph Smith:

    I will refer to a certain meeting I attended in the town of Kirtland in my early days. At that meeting some remarks were made that have been made here today, with regard to the living oracles and with regard to the written word of God. The same principle was presented, although not as extensively as it has been here, when a leading man in the Church got up and talked upon the subject, and said: “You have got the word of God before you here in the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants; you have the written word of God, and you who give revelations should give revelations according to those books, as what is written in those books is the word of God. We should confine ourselves to them.”

    When he concluded, Brother Joseph turned to Brother Brigham Young and said, “Brother Brigham, I want you to take the stand and tell us your views with regard to the living oracles and the written word of God.” Brother Brigham took the stand, and he took the Bible, and laid it down; he took the Book of Mormon, and laid it down; and he took the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and laid it down before him, and he said: “There is the written word of God to us, concerning the work of God from the beginning of the world, almost, to our day. And now,” said he, “when compared with the living oracles those books are nothing to me; those books do not convey the word of God direct to us now, as do the words of a Prophet or a man bearing the Holy Priesthood in our day and generation. I would rather have the living oracles than all the writing in the books.” That was the course he pursued. When he was through, Brother Joseph said to the congregation: “Brother Brigham has told you the word of the Lord, and he has told you the truth.” [in Conference Report, October 1897, pp. 18-19)


  8. Rick B says:

    Now this is a good one for LDS, becasue they can use this to toss out all the crazy teachings from the past, Like Adam God, Blood atonment, Etc. Got to the the tricks of the enemy to fool people.

    Third: The living prophet is more important to us than a dead prophet.

    The living prophet has the power of TNT. By that I mean “Todays News Today.” God’s revelations to Adam did not instruct Noah how to build the ark. Noah needed his own revelation. Therefore, the most important prophet, so far as you and I are concerned, is the one living in our day and age to whom the Lord is currently revealing His will for us. Therefore, the most important reading we can do is any of the words of the prophet contained each week in the Church Section of the Deseret News, and any words of the prophet contained each month in our Church magazines. Our marching orders for each six months are found in the general conference addresses, which are printed in the Ensign magazine.

    I am so grateful that the current conference report is studied as part of one of your religion classes–the course entitied “Teachings of the Living Prophets,” number 333. May I commend that class to you, and suggest that you get a copy of the class manual at your bookstore, whether you’re able to take the class or not. The manual is entitled “Living Prophets for a Living Church.”

    Beware of those who would pit the dead prophets against the living prophets, for the living prophets always take precedence.

    This one is great, because it contrdicts so many others. Like the one above I just posted.

    Fourth: The prophet will never lead the Church astray.

    President Wilford Woodruff stated: “I say to Israel, The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as president of the Church to lead you astray. It is not in the program. It is not in the mind of God.” (The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, selected by G. Homer Durham [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1946], pp. 212-213.)

    President Marion G. Romney tells of this incident, which happened to him:

    I remember years ago when I was a Bishop I had President [Heber J.] Grant talk to our ward. After the meeting I drove him home….Standing by me, he put his arm over my shoulder and said: “My boy, you always keep your eye on the President of the Church, and if he ever tells you to do anything, and it is wrong, and you do it, the Lord will bless you for it.” Then with a twinkle in his eye, he said, “But you don’t need to worry. The Lord will never let his mouthpiece lead the people astray.” [In Conference Report, October 1), p. 78]

    LDS can claim Adam God and other goofy teachings as truth because the prophet wont lead anyone astray, but on the other hand, for those who dont agree with those teachings, they can claim a living prophet is better than a dead prophet. Simply Genius. We can have are cake and eat it to.

    This also is great, The prophet can now claim anything he wants and call it scripture since he does not need to say it is of God.

    Sixth: The prophet does not have to say “Thus saith the Lord” to give us scripture.

    Sometimes there are those who haggle over words. They might say the prophet gave us counsel, but that we are not obligated to follow it unless he says it is a commandment. But the Lord says of the Prophet Joseph, “Thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you” (D&C 21:4).

    And speaking of taking counsel from the prophet, in D&C 108:1, the Lord states: “Verily thus saith the Lord unto you, my servant Lyman: Your sins are forgiven you, because you have obeyed my voice in coming up hither this morning to receive counsel of him whom I have appointed”.

    Said Brigham Young, “I have never yet preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of men, that they may not call scripture” (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot], 13:95).

  9. falcon says:

    There’s not a lot of deep thinking that goes on in these types of religious groups. They just hum along, doing what is expected and not rocking the boat. To question, BTW, is the equivalent of having doubts. So if a faithful LDS member should stumble across this blog, read the article and then the comments it would take a whole lot of thinking on their part to consider the subject matter. Doing a whole lot of thinking is the opposite of accepting what is told by the leadership. The leadership is not to be questioned.
    Just think what would happen to the level of commitment of an LDS member who didn’t see the “prophet” in the light of what has been taught. If he isn’t really the Grand Poh Bah of enchantment and enlightenment, then he’s not all that special. He’s just another man who worked his way up through the LDS machine.
    Let’s face it, who would jump through all of the LDS hoops if the “prophet” really wasn’t all that hot?

  10. falcon says:

    I think if LDS folks could get passed the “emotions as a reflection of personal revelation” they would do themselves a big favor. I’ll add into the mix the “emotions mean confirmation” and “emotions reflect truth” scenario promoted in Mormonism.
    Can you imagine the number of Mormons who had sustaining feelings about things that are now said to be wrong? Check out the history of the Mormon church and it’s a story of zigzagging here there and every where and nobody blows a whistle or throws a flag. They just keep playing the game even though the rules are continually changing.
    That’s the problem with accepting someone as a prophet who is probably more clueless than those who are following him and hanging on his every word.

  11. RikkiJ says:


    Thanks for defining terms, and I actually wholeheartedly agree with you.

    Simply put the role of a prophet in the New Testament has changed (Heb. 1:1, ESV) Whereas scriptural revelation came through the prophets of the Old Testament, in this New covenant, God speaks through His Son. Therefore, no longer can prophets determine scripture as primary revelators (Eph. 3:5, ESV), and the canon in terms of revelation, inspiration, authorship and usage (as determined by the early church) has been completed.

    However, that doesn’t mean that God doesn’t have prophets today. Their role is entirely subsequent to apostles etc (1 Cor 12:25,28; Eph. 4:11-12) and reveals the truth of God and the hearts of humans (1 Cor. 14:24-25).

    I’ve personally met many a false prophet who prophesied or revelations about my life that were completely bogus. On the other hand, I’ve also met many a true prophet who has revealed the secrets of my thoughts (not my observable actions) but my private prayers (in specific detail-no one has heard my prayers that I pray in my mind), and predicted the future correctly.

    It is sad that the LDS church has a broken (image) reflection of what God ordained for the living breathing church – real prophets who are to build up the body, that is the body of believers, who believe in Christ alone for their salvation (through grace). [yes falcon, I agree with you]

  12. falcon says:

    After His resurrection, Jesus told His disciples: “Now He said to them, ‘These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures…….” (Luke 24:44-45)
    Here Jesus is, haven risen from the dead, which should be enough evidence for anybody, and He points His disciples to the Scriptures for verification. He also provided the means by which they would understand. Notice no burning in the bosom type of emotional experience. It’s a spiritual and cognitive experience. I’m sure they felt something because our emotions are driven by our dominant thoughts, but that wasn’t where Jesus took them for proof of the truth.
    This is why the Mormon process of prophets, revelation and emotional confirmation is so bogus and dangerous.
    Your experience with “prophets” who “revealed” things to you that weren’t true is very telling. Had these “prophets” been able to manipulate you emotionally no telling where that might have led. There’s a reason why the Apostle Paul told the congregation to judge what was being spoken forth. That’s also why we are to exercise caution along with wisdom, discernment and understanding.
    For those of us outside the Mormon bubble it’s pretty easy to see the folly of the Mormon prophets. Unfortunately for those in the sect, they are shrouded in a spiritual deception that while appearing real to them, is false and dangerous but it makes them feel good.

  13. cattyjane says:

    yes, feelings are definitely expected to weigh heavier than logic in the LDS religion. There is a prime example of that in the post I did about my visit recently by church for my membership removal. He kept trying to draw me back to how I felt at my baptism, and how I felt when I was more involved. My responses are in my post so I wont bother re-writing my conversation. There are many religions that focus on feelings and I think that is proof it cant be true if the facts dont line up.

  14. falcon says:

    Yea, the LDS religious sect with its emphasis on being the shiny new object because they have a prophet seems to come with a lot of qualifiers. And yet, do the rank-and-file members know or operate this way? Absolutely not. The lead with the MM in their lessons is all about past prophets of the Bible, how they spoke for God, how their group has a prophet and because of that doesn’t it stand to reason that this is the “one true church”.
    There are lots of problems with this LDS logic, not-the-least-of-which is that calling someone a prophet doesn’t make him a prophet. Slapping a label on a food product with the word “lite” doesn’t mean it has any less calories. It’s just a label.
    What sort of label should the LDS “prophet” have in light of this article where by it appears that the definition of “prophet” has been significantly altered? As I pointed in my earlier post. Looking to the NT will pretty much inform us of everything we need to know about the nature of God, the nature of man, salvation, the Church, prophets, prophecy and on-and-on.
    What Joseph Smith and his subsequent “prophets” did was make up their own religion from whole cloth based on whatever thoughts seemed to meander through their brains at any given time. LDS folks don’t simply respect the guy at the top of their religious pyramid, they venerate him. This is extremely dangerous stuff.

  15. Mike R says:

    Dr Riess is yet another Mormon who finds themselves trying to offer answers about her leaders
    preaching track record . The last few decades as seen a great exposure of Mormon history to
    the public and the ” gospel preaching ” Mormon leaders have produced since 1830 , and rank
    and file Mormons and the general public have seen the strange doctrines eminating from the
    Mormon leadership of the past . As a result there is a attempt by Mormons like Dr Riess to put
    a good face on this mess , so the alibi’s offered are predictable , and they always fail . But
    any ” response ” offered might give Mormons a reason to keep giving allegiance to their
    leaders . Mormons have told before that thinking that their leaders are as likely to be wrong
    as they are to be right , in their teaching , is to play Satan’s favorite game where he attempts
    to lure them away . [ Deseret News 5-26-1945 ] .
    Dr Riess is simply another Mormon who is bailing a sinking ship . The answer is obvious and
    hopefully one day soon she’ll see it , and dismiss the latter days prophets of Mormonism from
    her life . They can’t be trusted to be consistent reliable guides . She does’nt need them .

  16. Mike R says:

    Personal revelation / inner witness ?
    We non LDS who seek to reach out to Mormons with the true gospel of salvation are leery of
    the importance they place on feelings which they have been taught is a inner witness from the
    Holy Ghost confirming the answer to them . But when it comes to evaluating ( testing ) those
    who come claiming to be prophets sent by God in these latter days is trusting a feeling the
    primary means to arrive at a correct answer ? After all , we are told that false prophets will be
    plentiful in the latter days , and we also realize that not all false prophets are immoral , arrogant
    individuals , some can be very well dressed , are polite , smile a lot , and talk about ” following
    Jesus ” . Do Mormons realize this fact ?

    Since the Holy Spirit is the ” Spirit of Truth ” ( Jn 14:17 ) He will not give a inner witness/ good
    feeling to false doctrine . The first test ( primary ) is to compare , compare the teachings of
    these latter days prophets with what Jesus’ sent His apostles out to teach everyone –Rom 1:16.
    Mormon prophets have failed the test . Thus no amount of good deeds , church activity , can
    make up for believing false doctrines about God/ Jesus , or salvation . ( This is such a ” given ”
    that even Mormon leaders have said as much . So a decision has to be made — follow Mormon
    prophets , or the Biblical prophets/ apostles . Either the Bible reveals the way to how sinners
    can be forgiven and receive eternal life from God , or the doctrinal innovations introduced by
    the latter days prophets of Mormonism need to be added .
    I’m sticking with Jesus’ true apostles . What they taught did’nt become broke , so the latter day
    prophets around today who claim to have fixed it are simply self clever salesmen .

    – examples of Mormons trusting their inner witness :

    – Apostles under Brigham Young testified that his Adam God teaching was new light , truth .
    – Mark Hoffman’s dad testified that his son ,arrested for suspicion of murder and fraud , was
    innocent . But he was convicted .
    – After a Mormon apostle prayed and told pioneers in the Willie and Martin hand cart facing
    dire weather conditions ahead they would arrive safely to Salt Lake City , however scores of
    persons died in one one the worst tragedies in the Western migration of the 19th century .
    They trusted his inner witness , and ” counsel ” . [ The Gathering of Zion , p. 243 ] .

    I’m sure that many more example could be given . The point is clear that the way Mormons
    typically evaluate the counsel/teachings of their leaders is primarily through trusting that
    a good feeling / impression which they experience is the Holy Spirit’s ” voice ” etc .

    Trusting feelings in relation to accepting latter days prophets teachings can be a recipe for spiritual manipulation . Prov 14:12

  17. falcon says:

    What we are seeing with the LDS church is an erosion of what they used to be definite about to a watered down program. Make a list starting with the change to the BoM introduction:

    ” The book’s current introduction, added by the late LDS apostle, Bruce R. McConkie in 1981, includes this statement: “After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are the principal ancestors of the American Indians.”

    The new version, seen first in Doubleday’s revised edition, reads, “After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are among the ancestors of the American Indians.”

    Here’s the problem. The claim has been that the people in the BoM are ex-patriot Jews, a lost tribe that came to the Americas in magic boats. These Jews were supposedly the ancestors of the American Indians. DNA testing gave a big “OOPS” to that claim as it shows that the ancestors were of Asiatic origin. So one little word, “among”, and there you have it. All better now!

    Now wouldn’t you think that we’d have a crisis of confidence here with the Mormon prophets? This is no small thing when it comes to how reliable or effective Mormon prophets are. If they missed something this glaring then they are indeed just free wheeling and supposing rather than having any serious messages from the Mormon god. Just think of the lengths the leadership has to go to in order to prop this myth up. And the people believe it.

    So prospects are told to read the BoM and if they get a good feeling about it then that means the Mormon god is communicating to them the truthfulness of the tome. But wait a minute because that’s not all. The burning in the bosom about the BoM gets expanded to include the LDS church as the one true church, Joseph Smith as a prophet and the current prophet as a real prophet.

    What we see is change after change but the LDS church has cover stories to feed to those who they have conditioned to believe the leaders are always right. What to do now that it is being said that isn’t exactly true.
    Wouldn’t you love to get these guys on a witness stand to explain the changes in the LDS testimony over time. Veracity is not one of their strong points.

  18. falcon says:

    What I’d like to see is someone set-up a video camera outside of GC and ask these very dedicated LDS members a question.
    The question would be: “Is your prophet always correct when speaking on matters of faith and doctrine.”
    A follow-up question would be: “Would you obey the direct command of the prophet if he told you to steal or kill?”
    As to the first question, we now know that the Mormon prophets have erred when speaking on matters of faith.
    “……….Young proclaimed that Adam was Michael the Archangel, and that he was also the Ancient of Days. Young went on to conclude that Adam was, in fact, “our Father and our God, and the only God with whom we have to do.” In this message, Mormonism’s second president explained that Eve was only one of Adam’s wives and that Jesus Christ “was not begotten by the Holy Ghost.” Instead, Young said, He “was begotten in the flesh by the same character that was in the garden of Eden, and who is our Father in Heaven.”
    We also know that LDS apostle Bruce McConkie condemned the teaching in most vociferous terms. So it would appear that a Mormon prophet can be wrong when teaching on matters of faith. It would be difficult for me to follow prophets that are consistently said to be wrong about matters fundamental to the faith by those who follow them latter.

  19. RikkiJ says:


    You know you mentioned “How do you know when and LDS Prophet is lying? His lips are moving.

    Jesus (the Messiah) said, “But I say… love your enemies, pray for those who mistreat you… Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.” (Luke 6:27-33, NASB) Selected portion

    How about it? Would you pray for ‘Prophet’ Thomas S. Monson and the GAs that they would come to salvation and reconcile with truth (Jesus)?


  20. Mike R says:

    The only reason that Mormons like Dr Riess is trying to provide a answer to the question of how
    LDS can know when their leaders are speaking accurate doctrine ( hearing from the Holy Ghost )
    compared to just guessing ( human reasoning ) is that the last few years has seen a large
    number of LDS asking hard questions , questions stemming from finding out about various
    teachings of their leadership , teachings that have surprised them . Supposedly rank and file
    members can know the truth about these through personal revelation . However , we’ve seen
    that though the Mormon people rely on their inner witness / feelings , that won’t make error
    become truth . Those who followed Brigham Young had a testimony about what he taught to
    the assembled church body , or had published for wide distribution , yet some of those
    doctrines are now publically denied , dodged , or downplayed .

    A Mormon testimony : ” A testimony is to know by revelation that Jesus is the Christ ; that
    Joseph Smith and his successors are the revealers of the knowledge of Christ and of salvation
    for our day .” [ Ensign Nov 1974 , p. 35 ] .

    So what have Mormon leaders from Joseph Smith on taught about who Jesus is , or how sinners
    can receive salvation ? Should we compare these teachings with what God’s prophets/ apostles
    in the Bible revealed about Jesus and salvation ? Does it matter ? Do false prophets mix in
    their own doctrinal innovations onto the gospel that Paul taught about salvation requirement ,
    are their additions something we should be concerned about in light of Matt 24:11 ?
    The reason this questions matters is that Mormon leaders have taught that soon after Jesus’
    apostles died off , certain men altered their teachings by mixing in their false ideas . This
    produced beliefs that were wrong and thus identified those who taught them as false prophets
    ( teachers ) and deceivers — Gal 1:8 ; 2 Jn 7-9 . This is the same type behavior that Mormon
    leaders have engaged in , and their teaching record ever since they appeared on the scene will
    attest to . In short , the latter days prophets of Mormonism can’t be trusted as guides .
    They’ve ran past the truths which the true prophets and apostles revealed about God , Jesus
    Jesus , and salvation . They have drifted into teaching for doctrine the precepts of men —
    Mark 7:7 . The Book of Mormon describes this error as well — Jacob 4:1 4 , ” looking beyond
    the mark ” .

    The Mormon leadership is something that the Mormon people simply don’t need to receive
    forgiveness of sins , a right relationship with God , and the fullest of blessings of eternal life
    in His presence above .

  21. cattyjane says:

    If I prayed for them my prayer would be that they would have eyes to see who the one true Gd is and heart that has a desire to find truth. I dont know what these leaders actually believe but im guessing that most probably dont have good reasons for why they have accepted the doctrine of the lds church. Some may not believe it at all and are actually atheist but continue to teach the doctrines of the church beause of the good moral teachings and charity. There are many reasons for why people continue to stay in a religion but until they are given that unavoidable call by Gd to dig and find the truth, they will not come out from darkness. You can plant all the seeds that you want but only Gd brings the increase. Proverbs 25:2 It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the honour of kings to search it out. Deuteronomy 29:29 The secret things belong unto the LORD our God; but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all tje words of this law.

  22. falcon says:

    RJ & CJ
    Pray for the LDS leaders? Do you really think it would do any good? Let’s go all hper-Calvin on them and conclude they are non-elect! OK, OK……bad joke!
    For a little encouragement, look up the “Wide World Church of God” and what happened after their leader W. Herbert Armstrong died. I think it was Jack Haford’s group that use to walk around the outside boundaries of the property and pray fervently for that group.
    http://www.gci.org/aboutus/history (see chapter 2)
    I sat in the parking lot of the temple in Ricks, Idaho (I think that’s the place; Ricks College) and prayed up a storm. I think it’s a good thing to do.

  23. cattyjane says:

    Yep thats another group that is bananas. They have a couple of good points just like every other foreign god following religion but they are still in the woods. They call themselves 7th day adventist now dont they? They have a prophet and a prophetess (ellen g white).
    We can ask anything we want of the creator, but we must remember that He ultimately makes all the decisions. Moses did not deliver Israel out of Egypt, Gd did. Moses led them by obeying what Gd said but it was Gd who did the delivering. Not everyone wants to do what Gd commands them to do. All we can do is plead for mercy that all will be delivered in the end. That everyone will come to a knowledge and understanding of the one true Gd and return to obeying his commands. We can help by shining the light into the world and showing by our actions the right path to take. Ultimately it is up to them to haave the heart of Pharoah or the heart of Ruth.

  24. Mike R says:

    Falcon, you mentioned the doctrinal changes by Mormon leaders . I agree that is a very good
    reason to not follow them as guides . Many years ago I looked into the teachings of Jw’s and
    their track record as guides — it is appalling the number of flip flops introduced by that latter
    day prophet ( they have also claimed that God restored fundamental truths through their
    first president in the late 1800’s ) .

    Let’s look at the word ” infallible ” . This is one of the alibi’s that some Mormons use to
    rescue their leaders , and Dr Riess uses it also . How do we respond to this ? Simple . We
    don’t get let that alibi distract us . Whether it’s using ” that’s not official doctrine or ” That’s
    only his opinion ” or ” they’re not infallible ” , it’s all the same , and the way most Mormons
    use these alibi’s amounts to a diversion . So let’s not get side tracked when Mormons like
    Dr Riess resort to playing that card . Since Mormon prophets claim to be the latter days
    revealers of correct knowledge on gospel topics we need to test that claim — 1 Jn 4: 1 .
    So are Mormon leaders RELIABLE guides ? Have they been TRUSTWORTHY as guides ?
    A review of their gospel teaching track record since 1830 will reveal the answer .
    So non Mormons should’nt get distracted when Mormons use the ” not infallible ” response,
    consider :

    When Mormons were going full steam ahead in the 19th century with their boldness in declaring their authority while building of ” Zion ” in Utah they took every opportunity to castigate what
    they called ” Christendom ” or ” the Christian world ” as apostate .
    Mormon leaders have always tried to protect their flock from ” apostate views ” by contrasting
    what they can receive by submitting to them and embracing their gospel preaching , compared
    to what they non Mormon churches / preachers have provided their flocks .
    Mormon leaders told their followers that these churches / preachers will mislead them because:
    – they have exhibited a pattern of unstable teachings , vacillating . Failure to provide clarity .
    – these apostate preachers have mixed in their own ideas to the true gospel and try to pass it
    off as accurate information on Bible topics .
    – the problem these preachers have in providing consistent accurate knowledge about Bible
    doctrines is largely due to the fact they don’t have the priesthood .

    When one takes the time to examine what Mormon leaders have taught to their flock it will be
    evident that they are guilty of this same type behavior which accused apostate preachers of !

    Now what have Mormon leaders promised to their flock ?

    – Mormon leadership will NEVER teach false doctrine [ Gospel Principles 1978 p. 46
    – Brigham Young reminded his flock that it was his duty to see that no incorrect doctrine
    was taught/ condoned by him so they could be safe .
    – ” you can ALWAYS TRUST the living prophets . Their teachings reflect the will of the Lord …
    [ True to The Faith p 129 ]
    – ” The Time will never come when we will not be able to put CONFIDENCE and exercise faith
    IN THE TEACHINGS and in the instruction of those who lead us ….Therefore it behooves
    us as Latter Day Saints to put our TRUST in the presiding authorities of the church , in
    the priesthood of God , AND ACCEPT THEIR TEACHINGS .” [ Conference Report ,
    Oct 1912 , Joseph F. Smith Jr. ]

    – ” There is at least one place we can turn for PURE UNPOLLUTED guidance ” — our prophet
    [ Oct 1998 Conference , ” Come Listen to a Prophet’s Voice ” ]

    – ” We are not casting frantically about trying to decide what to do . We know what to do
    AND WHAT TO TEACH . ” [ Ensign , May 1994 , Boyd Packer ] .

    – ” Mormonism supplies a consistent and positive theology , free from the doubts and cavils
    and speculations of sectaries, because it comes directly from a divine source …It speaks
    with no uncertain sound …. it is definite in it’s revealments and doctrines . Dubiety remains
    not under it’s influence . Uncertainty is marked upon all the creeds of men —Mormonism
    is certain and conclusive . ” [ ” Why I Am A Mormon ” p 5-6 . President Charles Penrose ]

    Not much needs to be said . The claims of Mormon leaders is akin to the pot calling the kettle
    black concerning their accusations against those who serve in Christian churches .
    In light of the latter days danger Jesus pre warned us all about ( Matt 24: 11 ) it is not wise
    to follow Mormon prophets , they simply can’t be trusted to be consistently reliable guides in
    teaching the gospel . The Mormon people don’t need them . A right relationship with God is
    available outside of Mormonism , and many LDS are finding that to be true . Jn 14:6

  25. falcon says:

    A few years back Andy Watson, who was a regular contributor here, some how got connected to a guy who held a very significant role within the LDS sect and also had a heavy duty family pedigree in the (sect). This guy was no intellectual slouch, holding advanced, earned graduate degrees.
    Andy got into a e mail discussion with him at this fellows request. I really don’t know what the guy’s motivation was. The topic of the discussion basically centered around early church history; about the first 400 years of the Christian faith.
    Andy shared the e mails with me in confidence. They were very high level scholarly give-and-takes, good respectful tone and all of that. Eventually the discussions just ran out of gas and really weren’t going to go any where further than they had.
    What’s my point? When you first came to this blog you thought we were all pretty hilarious. But you got into an e mail discussion with rick and others and eventually the old light bulb went on as you began to study and research what was being presented to you. Eventually you saw the LDS church and Mormonism for what it is and ended up leaving.
    The guy that Andy interacted with stayed deeply entrenched in the LDS program. I told Andy that the guy just had way too much to lose to even consider leaving the LDS church. He had position, authority and an adoring crowd. His family was way big in the sect.
    It’s a funny thing, some people getting it and others not. Grant Palmer is an example of a highly educated person who got it. He’d say Joseph Smith was a very accomplished con man. Michael Quinn is a real puzzler. The dude knows it all when it comes to Mormonism. He’s been kicked out of the LDS church but he still believes in Joseph Smith. Quinn thinks the LDS church needs to be reformed. He holds out hope that a blessing that was spoken to him one time as a young man about becoming a general authority some day will come true.
    Go figure!
    I’m on controversial ground here, but I’ve said it before. The more I’m involved in this type of ministry, the more I believe in the concept of election. I can sort of defend the concept from Scripture, but I wouldn’t argue it because it’s more of a gut type feeling of which I don’t put a whole lot of evidential stock in.
    So pray for the leaders of the LDS church? What can it hurt, really. But in the end people have to be led to the Lord through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. I’m not sure what role our prayers have within the confines of a soverign God, but we do pray as we are led.

  26. fifth monarchy man says:

    Falcon said,

    The more I’m involved in this type of ministry, the more I believe in the concept of election.

    I say,

    It happens to all us Christians eventually. 😉

    Some in this life some in the next.
    Resistance is futile.
    It’s called Irresistible Grace after all.


  27. falcon says:

    OK I couldn’t resist, being a fan of Charles Spurgeon.

    “Charles Spurgeon said that free will and election are like two parallel lines that don’t ever seem to touch. But he said that if you follow them far enough, all the way up to Heaven, then they do meet each other. When asked how he reconciles free will and election, Spurgeon replied ‘You don’t have to reconcile friends!” In other words, we look at the issue down here and think there is no way that both can be true but the great Bible teachers knew that both were true and they held both. And in eternity we shall see that the two thoughts were not against each other but were friends!”

    “If you just hold to election/predestination then it can lead you down the path that some are elected for Hell. Which is NOT what the Bible teaches and is an insult to a loving God. But, as a Christian, if you give up on the election track and just go with free will, then you’ll miss a whole lot more of what the Bible teaches about that it is God who chose you, and it is God that is holding you and keeping you safe in this salvation.”

    So yes, we should pray for the leadership of the LDS church that they may come to a knowledge of the grace of Jesus Christ and place their trust in Him totally for their salvation. In addition, that they will come to know who God is. LDS do not know who God is. This is their greatest sin. Because it is rejecting God for a false god. “I am the Lord thy God. You shall not have false gods before you.”
    False prophets prophesy and reveal a false god.
    Now that Mormons are fudging on whether or not their prophets are as hot as they have been taught they are, maybe it’s time for Mormons to consider that this Mormon god is the leaders greatest sin.

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