The Continuing Call to Follow the Prophet

EzraTaftBensonIt was 35 years ago today that then-LDS apostle Ezra Taft Benson (President of the Quorum of the Twelve) delivered his now-famous speech, “Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet,” to a devotional assembly at Brigham Young University. According to historian D. Michael Quinn, the Mormon Church’s president, Spencer W. Kimball, “was concerned” when he learned about Mr. Benson’s speech, fearing people would see it as the Church “espousing ultraconservative politics” or perhaps “an unthinking ‘follow the leader’ mentality” (Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power, 110-111). President Kimball requested that Mr. Benson apologize to the upper tier of Church leadership (i.e., the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve), and then “explain himself” to the entire body of the Church’s General Authorities (ibid.).

When Mr. Benson explained that his remarks were “meant only to reaffirm the divine nature of the prophetic call,” all was apparently forgiven as life moved on in the Mormon Church. Ezra Taft Benson went on to become the President of the Church five years later.

Corbin Volluz at the Rational Faiths blog has written a really interesting article, “14 Fundamentals in Falsifying the Prophet,” in which he describes how Mr. Benson’s assertion in the speech of Mormon prophetic infallibility eventually became accepted and believed false doctrine within the Mormon Church. Mr. Volluz attributes the rise of this “false doctrine” to Spencer W. Kimball’s negligence when he refrained from issuing “some sort of official public clarification or retraction of the erroneous doctrine” espoused by Mr. Benson in 1980. While Mr. Volluz frames a good argument, I’m not sure I agree with his conclusions. I’m not sure the “concern” voiced by the First Presidency in 1980 was directed at the infallibility issue, and here’s why.

While it is documented that Mormon Church leadership had some misgivings about Mr. Benson’s speech, those misgivings could not have been too severe. In 1982 the Church published Teachings of the Living Prophets, Student Manual Religion 333 which quoted from the speech liberally. In fact, the manual quotes all 14 “fundamentals” from Mr. Benson’s summary just as they appeared in the 1980 press copy. From the 1982 Church manual:

(3-8) What Should We Remember about the Prerogatives of the Living Prophet?

In conclusion, let us summarize this grand key, these “Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet,” for our salvation hangs on them.

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

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

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

Fourth: The prophet will never lead the church astray.

Fifth: The prophet is not required to have any particular earthly training or credentials to speak on any subject or act on any matter at any time.

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

Seventh: The prophet tells us what we need to know, not always what we want to know.

Eighth: The prophet is not limited by men’s reasoning.

Ninth: The prophet can receive revelation on any matter, temporal or spiritual.

Tenth: The prophet may be involved in civic matters.

Eleventh: The two groups who have the greatest difficulty in following the prophet are the proud who are learned and the proud who are rich.

Twelfth: The prophet will not necessarily be popular with the world or the worldly.

Thirteenth: The prophet and his counselors make up the First Presidency—the highest quorum in the Church.

Fourteenth: The prophet and the presidency—the living prophet and the First Presidency—follow them and be blessed; reject them and suffer.

I testify that these fourteen fundamentals in following the living prophet are true. (Chapter 3, “The Living Prophet,” 15-16)

Spencer W. Kimball was still leading the Mormon Church when this manual was published in 1982. The body of Church leadership was essentially the same group of men who had listened to Mr. Benson explain himself — and the speech he gave — in 1980. Any concerns over what Mr. Benson taught in the speech would have been pretty fresh while this manual was being prepared. Yet all 14 fundamentals were included in the student manual, a book which remained available on the website until at least 2004.

In 2010 this LDS Institute manual was revamped. One would expect that the Fourteen Fundamentals summary would be deleted from the new edition if it actually promotes false doctrine or a view of Mormon prophets that is incompatible with current LDS belief. But what happened is virtually the opposite. Rather than quietly removing Mr. Benson’s Fourteen Fundamentals summary, the new edition includes the entire speech.

NotMeIf this was false doctrine in 1980, published in an official Church manual in 1982, and published again in an official Church manual in 2010, the question must be asked: Who’s minding the store??

During the 2010 October General Conference, Mr. Benson’s speech was highlighted by two different General Authorities. In 2013 the Church published a new Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher’s Manual that reprints the summary of Mr. Benson’s 14 points. And this year, 2015, Mormons will be studying the Ezra Taft Benson volume of the Teachings of the President of the Church series, which also features teachings from the Fourteen Fundamentals speech (see Corbin Volluz’s helpful summary of which parts of the speech are included in the 2015 manual following the conclusion of “14 Fundamentals in Falsifying the Prophet”).

Corbin Volluz concludes his Rational Faiths article like this:

Because President Kimball failed to publicly repudiate or clarify the speech in 1980, Elder Benson’s false teaching stood unchallenged.

Because it stood unchallenged, it became accepted.

Because it became accepted, it was repeated by Church leaders.

And because it was repeated by Church leaders, it became established as doctrine.

And again, it took only 30-years for the time bomb planted by Elder Ezra Taft Benson in his Fourteen Fundamentals speech to go off. And now that it has, its falsification of the role of prophets will become established as official Church doctrine.

Elder Benson’s Fourteen Fundamentals of Falsifying the Prophet is complete.

Mr. Volluz bases his argument on the assumption that the thing that concerned Spencer W. Kimball about Mr. Benson’s speech in 1980 was the idea that Mormon prophets are infallible. And indeed, it is not difficult to find LDS teachings that contradict the idea of an infallible prophet. However, I am not convinced that this was the issue that troubled President Kimball; therefore, I’m not convinced that this “established doctrine” is false doctrine within Mormonism.

What if President Kimball failed to publicly repudiate or clarify the speech in 1980 because he actually agreed with it? Is it possible that President Kimball’s concerns over the speech were centered around the public’s perception regarding the Church’s role in politics, and the way the prophet’s leadership might influence the political process? Is it possible that Ezra Taft Benson’s assurances that his speech was only meant to “reaffirm the divine nature of the prophetic call” (i.e., not speak to the issue of politics) allayed President Kimball’s fears? If so, this would explain why the Church chose to include the 14 points of the speech in its 1982 Student Manual, thereby purposefully establishing it as official Church doctrine. And this is why it is repeated by Church leaders, and reprinted in multiple Church manuals, and accepted as truth.

I’m not saying this is how it was, but I believe it’s a possible scenario; and perhaps equally plausible as the one suggested by Mr. Volluz.

Whatever the truth of the matter is, Ezra Taft Benson’s “Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet” has enjoyed a continuous and vibrant history in the Mormon Church for 35 years, perpetually warning Latter-day Saints that their very “salvation hangs on” how carefully and unconditionally they follow their prophet. Happy anniversary, Mr. Benson.

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, General Conference, LDS Church, Mormon Culture, Mormon History, Mormon Leaders, Prophets and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to The Continuing Call to Follow the Prophet

  1. Rhythm Of The Tides says:

    Second: The living prophet is more vital to us than the standard works.
    ( So whats the point in the standard works then ? )

    Third: The living prophet is more important to us than a dead prophet.
    ( Actually no…It’s by the prophets of the past we gauge the prophets of today….

    Fourth: The prophet will never lead the church astray.

    ( You need to agree on where home base is before you know you are astray and if scripture and prophets from before are ” standard” or less important then by default, home base is the new prophet….which….defeats itself…bit of a labyrinth that one….)

    Fifth: The prophet is not required to have any particular earthly training or credentials to speak on any subject or act on any matter at any time.

    ( That’s one way of keeping the lawyers fees down )

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

    ( Hence the confusion on when a prophet is giving revelation or opinion )

    Seventh: The prophet tells us what we need to know, not always what we want to know.

    ( what we need to know is Christ + nothing else )

    Eighth: The prophet is not limited by men’s reasoning.

    ( No kidding…. )

    Tenth: The prophet may be involved in civic matters.
    ( Like dedicating local banks ? )

    Eleventh: The two groups who have the greatest difficulty in following the prophet are the proud who are learned and the proud who are rich.
    ( This coming from a church who can’t bring itself to say the word ” sorry ” or ” we were wrong ” about a many things. )

    Thirteenth: The prophet and his counselors make up the First Presidency—the highest quorum in the Church.
    ( And ? )

    Fourteenth: The prophet and the presidency—the living prophet and the First Presidency—follow them and be blessed; reject them and suffer.

    ( Ahh there is that old tried and trusted medieval scare tactic.. Surprised they haven’t implemented gargoyles to be honest. )

  2. historybuff says:

    The one thing that all Mormons, including President Benson, can agree on is that the paramount and abiding tenet of the Mormon Church is continuing revelation from God: the assertion that God leads the Mormon Church and God does not make mistakes. If this principle falls, so does the Church.

    Fortunately, it’s easy to prove, in three logical steps, that the Mormon Church is not guided by a prophet who speaks for God. As an example, simply look at Brigham Young, the Church’s second prophet.

    (1) He clearly stated on several occasions that when he speaks, what he says is revelation from God.

    “I say now, when they [his discourses] are copied and approved by me they are as good Scripture as is couched in this Bible . . . ” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 13, p. 264).

    “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, vol. 13, p. 95).

    (2) He preached many doctrines as scripture, published by him in the Church’s own Journal of Discourses, that have since been disavowed by later Mormon prophets. These abandoned doctrines include (a) the Adam-God theory, that Adam is actually our God; and (b) denying African Americans the priesthood until all other people on Earth have received it. (Statement of the First Presidency, 1949. Incidentally, Brigham Young was backed up in this First Presidency Statement by two other Mormon prophets – George Albert Smith and David O. McKay – who both signed the Statement.)

    (3) If Brigham Young spoke the truth, then most of the subsequent Mormon prophets have prophesied falsely by disavowing his teachings. If the subsequent prophets spoke the truth, then Brigham Young didn’t (nor did prophets George Albert Smith and David O. McKay), and they were false prophets. Either way, you have a bunch of alleged Mormon prophets prophesying falsely.

    It’s a simple and logical proposition. The fact that virtually all Mormons will immediately slam their minds shut as it is being presented shows you what kind of people you’re dealing with.

  3. Mike R says:

    Rhythm and historybuff,

    you two guys just nailed it ! Great posts .

  4. falcon says:

    Sorry Sharon……………….but your first sentence started with “It was 35 years ago today……” sent me immediately into “……….Sargent Pepper taught the band to play.”

    I am a huge fan of early Beatles music; although Sgt. P. came later in the game.

    This is an excellent article. I just keep thinking what total fools these LDS leaders are. Who is going to buy their nonsense other than a totally indoctrinated cult member? My apologies to cult members who may be offended by my calling them cult members.
    But really, weren’t we just told recently that the LDS folks have been instructed not to do what these fourteen principles tell them to do?

  5. falcon says:

    This all comes under the heading of “counts-doesn’t count” in the LDS sects over-all con game.
    How many times are we told that an utterance, proclamation, revelation from an LDS prophet doesn’t count because……………..and then we get some convoluted, contorted explanation.
    “Well you see it only counts if it’s spoken at mid-night, during a full moon with the prophet’s back to the temple, his right hand in his pants pocket and his left arm twirling around in a circle forwards three times and backwards twice.”
    So we are introduced to the excuses that it’s “just the prophet’s opinion”, “it’s just folk doctrine” and/or “it has to be spoken at GC and those in attendance must affirm it.”

    This LDS brag that they are the real deal because they have a prophet is a joke!

  6. historybuff says:

    Falcon —

    Huh? You said, “But really, weren’t we just told recently that the LDS folks have been instructed not to do what these fourteen principles tell them to do?” I don’t recall this. Please explain.

  7. historybuff says:

    As several posters have noted over the years, Mormons behave oddly when confronted with actual historical truth, or even simple logic. They instantly go into denial. The reason for this is quite simple, and it applies not just to cult members, but to many others as well. Mormonism actually becomes an addiction, complete with denial and withdrawal symptoms.

    Mormons crave the social contacts, the family support, the false sense of certainty, even the basketball games and sense of service. Discussing religion with an active (or even an inactive) Mormon is like discussing heroin with an addict. They are afraid to open their mind and really listen. If you intend to discuss religion with a Mormon, be ready for this response. Plan for it. Be ready to offer support.

    Although treatment is radically different from treatment for drug addiction, some aspects of treatment are similar. For example, resources include “motivational interviewing, which capitalizes on the readiness of individuals to change their behavior and enter treatment” and “motivational incentives (contingency management), which uses positive reinforcement to encourage abstinence from drugs.”
    See, for example:

    Translated into English, this means friendship and encouraging the Mormon to be open about his or her beliefs. Deal with Mormons as you would deal with close personal friends. Avoid being too critical and offer them substitute activities. This will be an enormous change for them and they need your help and understanding.

  8. falcon says:

    Right off of the FAIR website. But of course, they aren’t speaking for the LDS church(?).

    Neil L. Andersen (2012): “A few question their faith when they find a statement made by a Church leader decades ago that seems incongruent with our doctrine”

    Neil L. Andersen:

    A few question their faith when they find a statement made by a Church leader decades ago that seems incongruent with our doctrine. There is an important principle that governs the doctrine of the Church. The doctrine is taught by all 15 members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. It is not hidden in an obscure paragraph of one talk. True principles are taught frequently and by many. Our doctrine is not difficult to find.

    The leaders of the Church are honest but imperfect men. Remember the words of Moroni: “Condemn me not because of mine imperfection, neither my father … ; but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been” (Ether 12:6)

    You can find more at the link I’ve provided above.

  9. falcon says:

    There’s a couple of good books on this subject; which I read years ago. One is, “The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse” and “Churches that Abuse”.
    In the first one the author explains that he found many of the characteristics in folks who have experienced spiritual abuse to be much like those of people who have been sexually abused. That shocked me when I first read it but I think I understand what he was alluding to.

  10. falcon says:

    Some more quotes:

    1887 B. H. Roberts, Letter written November 4, 1887, London, Millennial Star 49. 48 (November 28, 1887): 760-763; a portion of which reads: “Relative to these sermons [Journal of Discourses] I must tell you they represent the individual views of the speakers, and the Church is not responsible for their teachings. Our authorized Church works are the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. In the Church very wide latitude is given to individual belief and opinion, each man being responsible for his views and not the Church; the Church is only responsible for that which she sanctions and approves through the formal actions of her councils. So it may be that errors will be found in the sermons of men, and that in their over zeal unwise expressions will escape them, for all of which the Church is not responsible”

    1902 Joseph F. Smith to Lillian Golsan, July 16, 1902. “[T]he theories, speculations, and opinions of men, however intelligent, ingenious, and plausible, are not necessarily doctrines of the Church or principles that God has commanded His servants to preach. No doctrine is a doctrine of this Church until it has been accepted as such by the Church, and not even a revelation from God should be taught to his people until it has first been approved by the presiding authority–the one through whom the Lord makes known His will for the guidance of the saints as a religious body. The spirit of revelation may rest upon any one, and teach him or her many things for personal comfort and instruction. But these are not doctrines of the Church, and, however true, they must not be inculcated until proper permission is given.” – Joseph F. Smith Correspondence, Personal Letterbooks, 93–94, Film Reel 9, Ms. F271; cited in Dennis B. Horne (ed.), Determining Doctrine: A Reference Guide for Evaluation Doctrinal Truth (Roy, Utah: Eborn Books, 2005), 221–222. Also in Statements of the LDS First Presidency, compiled by Gary James Bergera (Signature, 2007), page 121. Bergera indicates it is a letter from JFS to Lillian Golsan, July 16, 1902.

  11. falcon says:

    One of the features of Joseph Smith’s new religion that attracted members was the idea that everyone could receive personal revelation from God. But of course that caused some trouble because if this were widely applied, why would the people need a prophet? So some modifications were in order including Smith not depending on his magic rock for messages.
    Mormonism, especially as it’s practiced by the LDS, FLDS and other less known sects, has never really gotten it’s act together regarding the practice of revelation. The fourteen principles listed above just muddies the water. Mormonism is a mass of contradictory doctrine which, with the passage of time, no longer applies as it did in other generations. This is typical of cults. Far from having a prophet at the top of the pile who hears from God and then speaks to the people, they have an ignoramus who doesn’t have a clue.

  12. falcon says:

    You really can’t have a discussion about Mormon revelation without examining the place of seer stones in the lives of early Mormons. Fact of the matter is that Smith’s early followers were his family and neighbors. These folks incorporated their practice of folk magic into Smith’s new religion.

    This is from Wiki but the same information can be found from other sources.

    According to Latter Day Saint theology, seer stones were stones used by Joseph Smith to receive revelations from God. Some other early Latter Day Saints also possessed and used seer stones, including one of Smith’s self-professed successors, James Strang.

    Smith owned at least two seer stones, which he had earlier employed for treasure seeking before he founded the church.[1] Other early Mormons, such as Hiram Page, David Whitmer, and Jacob Whitmer, also owned seer stones.[2] Seer stones are mentioned in the Book of Mormon and in other Latter Day Saint scriptures, usually by the term “Urim and Thummim”.[3] James Strang, who claimed to be Smith’s successor, also unearthed what he said were ancient metal plates, known as the Voree plates, and translated them using a seer stone.

    Apparently, the apostasy of some early Mormon believers can be traced to Smith’s move away from the use of seer stones. The Whitmer family, devoted to their importance, “later said their disenchantment with Mormonism began when Joseph Smith stopped using his seer stone as an instrument of revelation.”[13] In November 1837, the Kirtland high council disfellowshipped 11-year-old James C. Brewster, his parents, and several associates for claiming that he had “the gift of seeing and looking through or into a stone.”[14] Nevertheless, some Mormons continued to believe in the power of seer stones even after the Mormon hierarchy experienced “a dramatic shift in attitudes toward folk magic” during the 1880s.[15] After Smith’s death, Brigham Young endorsed their use. In 1855, he reminisced, “Joseph said there is a [seer] Stone for every person on Earth.” At the first general conference after Smith’s death, Young declared, “The president of the priests has a right to the Urim and Thummim, which gives revelation.”[16]

  13. falcon says:

    ……………..and finally, from the same source:

    After finishing the Book of Mormon translation, Smith gave his brown seer stone to Oliver Cowdery, but he occasionally used his white stone to gain revelations, including his translation of what later became known as the Book of Abraham.[32] There is no evidence that Smith used the stone to dictate any of the Doctrine and Covenants revelations after November 1830;[33] during his work on his Bible translation, Smith told Orson Pratt he had stopped using the stone because he had become acquainted with “the Spirit of Prophecy and Revelation” and no longer needed it.[34] Nevertheless, in 1855, Brigham Young told the apostles that Smith had had five seer stones, and Young made it clear that Smith “did not regard his seer stones simply as relics of his youth” but had found others while church president.[35]

    According to apostle Joseph Fielding Smith, the LDS Church owns one of Smith’s seer stones.[36] D. Michael Quinn claims that the church holds three.[37] Nevertheless, since the nineteenth century, no president of the church has openly used such a stone in his role as “prophet, seer, and revelator”.

  14. historybuff says:

    Thanks, Falcon. Very interesting.

    As far as Ezra Taft Benson’s 14 Principles are concerned, I’ve never heard anyone with any authority refute any of them. Mormons consider them to be black letter law. Sometimes a Mormon leader, historian or scholar will discuss troublesome aspects of Church history or doctrines, and suggest that Prophet X or Prophet Y was merely voicing his own personal opinion, or acting on his own. This is usually followed up, however, with a reminder that the living prophet speaks for God. (Yes, I know it’s logically inconsistent to claim that once a prophet dies everything he said becomes his unreliable personal opinion, but there it is.)

    And whenever one of these Church leaders or scholars has apparently challenged one of the 14 Principles, it’s usually followed by a call to follow the living prophet. So we’re back to those pesky 14 Principles again…

  15. falcon says:

    I think we need to keep these 14 principles handy so we can haul them out any time a Mormon wants to play the opinion or folk doctrine card. The other favorite is, “It was a long time ago”, in response to anything that exposes Mormonism for what it is.
    Is it any wonder that Mormonism is the keeper of the psychological mind-set known as “cognitive dissonance”? But that’s why the testimony is so important in allowing someone to continue to believe in Mormonism against all verifiable evidence that it’s a total lie. The TBM got the feeling which is confirmation that it’s all true and that’s all that counts. That’s why when our LDS posters get themselves painted into a corner, they bear their testimony and bug-out never to be heard from again.
    If they start to doubt of course it’s Satan trying to confuse them and get them to leave the one true church. What a mind game Mormonism is!

  16. historybuff says:

    And it’s also a good idea to hang onto Brigham Young’s statements about his written sermons being revealed scripture. Those are clear, definitive statements from a prophet, and it’s easy to point out how the modern church has abandoned many of his scriptural teachings.

  17. Mike R says:

    So Mr Corbin Volluz claims that Mormon prophet Spencer Kimball condoned false doctrine to be given to his flock ? This false doctrine was taught by Apostle Benson( 1980 sermon ) , according to Volluz .

    That’s great to hear a LDS say things like that because he is one step closer to being free from a man made religious organization .
    We’ve been saying for years , trying to minister to LDS here that they follow the same kind of prophets Jesus warned would come in the latter days — see Matt 24:11 . Decent , sincere, people are fooled by these prophets and the Mormon people are a good example of this .

    Mormons don’t like the word ” infallible ” when advertising their prophet . They claim that prophets are fallible humans and make mistakes like all other men do . But what kind of mistakes ? Certainly Mormon prophets can err in some things common with what other men might do in every day life .
    Biblical prophets/ apostles were no different . However , when it comes to teaching the gospel , of declaring who God is , and of telling people who Jesus is , true prophets / apostles do not teach false doctrine , they’re teachings are trustworthy and we have them as scripture to guide us into truth . Mormon leaders have claimed to be appointed by Jesus to lead His church in the latter days , yet when one examines the long teaching track record of these men a pattern emerges , a pattern of giving their followers unstable teachings , vacillating , in their sermons . Leaders sermons are published and their ” inspired understanding of many gospel topics ” are available to LDS to have and pass on to others .

    Brigham Young assured his flock that no individual member would be led astray by believing what he taught because it was his duty to protect them from inaccurate doctrine . He also reminded them 4 years before his death that he had never given counsel that was wrong . Earlier he had assured his present flock they and also their posterity would be safe in what they heard him preach :

    ” We do not wish incorrect and unsound doctrines to be handed down to posterity under the sanction of great names , to be received and valued by future generations as authentic and RELIABLE , creating labor and difficulties for our successors to perform and contend with , which we ought not to transmit to them ….” [ Millennial Star 10-21 – 1865 — this was a First Presidency statement ] .

    ” 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.” [ Elder Joseph F Smith jr Conferance Report , Oct 1912 ] .

    The following statement from another Christian ministry to Mormons is worth a read :

    ” We believe all Christians , of whatever persuasion, should be aware of the slippery nature of so-called Mormon doctrine and not be put off by accusations of misrepresentation . Mormonism attempts to appeal to converts by claiming consistent and reliable guidance from God , which they claim is absent from the Christian churches . However , they also use the claim to prophetic guidance to change ‘ restored’ truth when it suits them and defy their followers to dare question the ‘ living prophets’ who alone speak for God . Caught between their faith in the prophets of Mormonism and their experience of inexplicable change and doctrinal inconsistencies Mormons are forced to excuse, explain, conceal and deny the pronouncements of their own leaders in an attempt to keep the faith . In the face of such circumstances , Christians should be ever more patient ,prayerfully and consistent in their witness.” [ past article from Reachout Trust , ” Who Speaks for
    Mormonism?” ]

  18. falcon says:

    I keep wondering why the LDS think they need a prophet. They can’t even make up their mind regarding what his actual abilities and gifts are. It’s more of that blank slate Mormonism that the members can write whatever they please on.
    So are these guys speaking for the Mormon god or aren’t they? It’s more than nuance. What Mormons tell us about their mighty leader is contradictory. Of course Mormons won’t admit it but that’s pretty much the picture we get when reviewing what is said about the prophet.

  19. falcon says:

    Here’s a scary thing.
    Way back when, I asked our LDS poster friend Ralph if he would kill or steal if ordered to do so by the prophet. He said that he would. As time has gone by, Ralph has clarified what he said (sort of) by saying that he would have to be told “directly” by the prophet; no e mail for example. That’s a true believer’s mind set and shows at least in Ralph’s case, how over-the-moon Mormons can be regarding their prophet.
    So is the prophet fallible or not? Can the prophet be questioned or not? Do LDS have to do what the prophet says, regardless?
    Here’s the danger of putting faith and confidence in a mere man who is billed as being a conduit for God. Mormons have made a very bad choice by putting their faith in a prophet instead of the Lord Jesus Christ.

  20. falcon says:

    This idea of having a prophet like the prophets in the OT might, on the surface, seem like a good idea but it’s inconsistent with NT doctrine and theology. On the Day of Pentecost, the Father gave to the Church, the Gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the “Gift” but He manifests Himself in believers in various ways.
    One of those manifestations is that of prophecy. Someone who has this gift is rightly referred to as a prophet. This gift isn’t given to one man so that he may act in the manner of an OT prophet. The NT outlines very specifically who are prophets and how this gift is to be utilized. It’s all there in First Corinthians chapters 12 and 14.
    A curious Mormon might want to avail him/her self of what the Bible actually says about prophets and prophesy. Understand, the way Mormonism/LDS church gets around the Bible is by calling the Word corrupted. Just think of all the fancy maneuvers a false prophet can make if he can get people to believe such a thing and than depend on him for answers and direction.
    Mormonism is to be repudiated because it’s built on a false foundation of men who went against God’s Word and God Himself. Mormonism created it’s own “god” and its own “scripture” through men who are false prophets.
    LDS folks are leaving the “one true church” in droves these days because they have discovered the truth about the false gospel.

  21. historybuff says:

    Blindly following a “prophet” is very seductive for a lot of people.

    But you would think that when a man represents himself as a prophet and proceeds to isolate his followers from the rest of society, and then claims to be greater than Jesus (for example, as Joseph Smith did at History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 408-409) and then starts having sex with young girls and the wives of his followers (for example, as Joseph Smith did), that his followers would see the light and realize that he’s a fraud.

    No, I’m not talking about Joseph Smith. I’m talking about this clown, Victor Barnard, who did the same thing and is now being extradited back to the U.S. as a fraud and a child molester.

    The irony is that Mormons will probably read this story in the news and tell each other how foolish those cult members were.

  22. falcon says:

    From the article linked to above:

    As a pastor, Barnard inspired his congregants with his charisma and apparent devotion to the teachings of Jesus Christ.

    “I had never met anybody that I thought loved the word of God as much as Victor Barnard did,” said Ruth Johnson, a former member of Barnard’s River Road Fellowship.

    In June 2000, the pastor allegedly convinced some members of his congregation to hand over their firstborn daughters to live with him in a secluded campsite.

    Lindsay Tornambe’s name was called, and her parents allowed their 13-year-old daughter to join the group of girls at the camp, called “The Maidens,” under Barnard’s supervision. She and other congregants said the girls got up early, sewed, cooked and cleaned.

    “Everything that a wife would do, they did for him,” Johnson said.

    Barnard proclaimed he was Christ on Earth.

    “He taught that in the Bible, the church was the bride of Christ and because he was Christ in the flesh, the church was supposed to be married to him,” Tornambe said. “At that time, I didn’t really understand the fullness of what it meant.”

    OK, folks isn’t it just amazing how these things continue to repeat themselves? So would Ralph, who wrote on MC that he would kill or steal if ordered to do so directly at the command of the LDS prophet, give his 13 year old daughter to the prophet also?
    What we are dealing with when it comes to these false prophets, is a seducing spirit. My guess is that some of those folks that followed this guy in Minnesota, would follow him today.

  23. historybuff says:

    Even though Dr. Phil did a show on Victor Barnard ( ), I somehow suspect that no newspaper in Utah will have the integrity to report the story. I just hope I’m wrong.

  24. falcon says:

    Oh well, I guess these guys must really be true believers. From the article:

    A man has been accused of encouraging hundreds of followers to be castrated in a promise for them to become closer to God.

    Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, an Indian pop-star and telepreacher with a reported wealth of more than $50 million, is being investigated after he allegedly manipulated around 400 men to get their testicles removed – according to India Today.

    One of his former followers who underwent castration seven years ago – named Hans Raj Chauhan – is one of the few to break the silence to speak out against him and the group.

    “[The victims] were told that only those who get castrated will be able to meet God,” said Chauhan’s lawyer, Navkiran Singh, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

  25. Mike R says:

    ” Infallible ” ? Mormons have been advised not to use that term when referring to they leaders .
    If they don’t want to use that term then that’s ok , and I so won’t either when I talk about their leaders to anyone . Long ago I examined the claims of Mormonism , and tested the teachings of it’s leaders in a way that the apostle John recommended his flock evaluate any prophet vying for their attention who might be trying to persuade them to accept a message they had not heard before —
    1 Jn 4:1

    ” Prophets are teachers and defenders of the gospel .” [ Howard Hunter , Conf. report , Oct 1963, p.101].
    So if Mormon leaders don’t claim to be infallible as teachers of the gospel are they then not accountable for what they have taught ? A further examination provided the answer :

    Joseph Smith stated : ” I never told you I was perfect ; but there is no error in the revelations which I have TAUGHT .” [ Scriptural Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith , arranged by Joseph Fielding Smith , Deseret Book , p. 415 cited in ” God’s Prophets Speak ” p. 335 ] .

    ” God has given us a Prophet to lead us . we must obey him, if we would have the blessings of God to rest upon us . NEVER let doubts arise in your hearts about him OR HIS TEACHINGS and counsels ,for if Satan can persuade you to doubt , he has gained a great victory over you ….” [ Apostle George Q. Cannon , 9-15- 1869 , Juvenile Instructor , 4:156 ] .

    ” President Brigham Young has assured us we can have COMPLETE CONFIDENCE in the prophets . He said ‘ The Lord Almighty leads this church , and He will NEVER suffer you to be led astray .”
    [ Apostle L. Tom Perry , Ensign Nov 1994 , 17] .

    ” You can ALWAYS TRUST the living prophets . their teachings reflect the will of the Lord ….”
    [ True To The Faith , p.128] .

    ” To acknowledge that this is the kingdom of God , and that there is a presiding power, and to admit that he can advance incorrect doctrine , is to lay the axe at the root of the tree ….but the Lord will not suffer Brigham to introduce incorrect doctrine , and he escape .” [ Apostle Orson Hyde , in Council of the Twelve meeting ,Historians office 4-5-1860 , cited in ” Conflicts in the Quorum ” by Gary Bergera , p. 191 ]

    ” The Lord will NEVER allow the president of the Church to teach us false doctrine.” [ Gospel Principles , 1978 , 46 ].

    ” 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 days Saints , to put our trust in the presiding authorities of the church , in the Priesthood , and accept their teachings .” [ Elder Joseph F. Smith jr , Conf. report Oct. 1912 ] .

    ” There is at least one place one place we can turn for pure, unpolluted guidance ….The voice of a living prophet bearing God’s message is CLEAR and SURE and SAFE and DIRECT .” [ ” Come Listen to a Prophet’s Voice, by Virginia Jensen Oct 1998 General Conf . ]

    ” ‘Mormonism ‘ provides 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 utters the voice of authority …. it is definite in its 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 , testimony tract by Pres. Charles Penrose ] .

    These are some examples of what Mormon leaders have claimed in order to get my attention and trust them as guides facilitating my joining their religious organization and submiting to them as authorities .

    If Mormons don’t want to use the term ” infallible ” to describe their leaders’ role as ” teachers and defenders of the gospel ” ( see first quote above ) then that’s their choice . But to anyone who might be investigating Mormonism this is not something to get side tracked on , because the fact of the matter is simply this : have Mormon leaders since 1830 been completely trustworthy as guides , men who have been consistently reliable in their gospel preaching ? They claim they have .
    The evidence says otherwise .
    The verdict : Matt 24:11

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