Sunday, February 26, 2012

30: The Prophets New Tie/Clothes

We just received the new March Ensign yesterday. There is a large portrait of Thomas S Monson on the cover. He is wearing a beautiful tie with all of the flags from around the world. I was able to count over a 100 flags visible on his tie, symbolic that Mormonism is now a global faith.

The bulk of the articles in this month's Ensign is to reiterate and emphasize in the minds of the Church members the importance of Following the Prophet and sustaining our leaders. Here are a few of the articles:
  • · "Follow the Prophet"
  • · "Led by a living prophet"
  • · "Following the Prophet makes me happy."
  • · "We sustain our Leaders"
  • · "Why do we need prophets?"
  • · "Preparing for General Conference"
  • · "Life Experiences of President Thomas S. Monson"
In addition to the headlines, I thought I would share a few excerpts from one of the articles, "Follow the Prophet" written by Elder Randall Bennett, one the General Authorities.
  • "We have learned not to question the validity of what prophets and apostles teach or to wonder if it makes sense."
  • "Some might call our actions blind obedience. But we have the Lord's personal promise that the prophets will never lead us astray."
  • "She had confidence in knowing that she was following the prophet. And that was more important than anything else." 
  • "Our determination to always follow the prophet."

One of the featured and longest article in this month's Ensign is a six page spread on the life of President Monson entitled , "Have I Done Any Good in the World today?" It is written by Heidi S. Swinton, who was commissioned by President Monson to write his autobiography. The article highlights some of Monson's acts of service and accomplishments throughout his life. In the article there is a compliment given by President Boyd K Packer referring to President Monson, "He is more Christlike than the rest of us". (Sidenote: This same quote is the opening sentence in Monson's autobiography).

Without question, there is an over abundance of stories and examples that we hear about how wonderful our Prophet is. In fact, in the latest Worldwide Training Meeting held a few weeks ago, the General Young Women's President said, " "I want to be like the prophet because he is like our Savior."

A few more quotes from the Ensign article:

  • "He (Monson) relates to a visiting dignitary from a foreign country with the same attention he does the man who polishes his desk at night." (Sidenote: I guess the bottom in worldly importance is a man who polishes President Monson's desk each night)
  • "President Monson does what most people only think about doing."
Preparatory to General Conference, once again in this months Ensign we are reminded of the good deeds and exemplary life of President Monson before the world will hear him speak to us..


One of the advantages of having young children is that you can read them bedtime stories. In addition the Ensign, the Church produces magazines like the Friend. However, sometimes it is fun to read classic fairy tales. I think we can learn a lot from fairy tales. Since both of my parents come from Denmark, as a child, my parents read to us tales written by the Danish author, Hans Christian Anderson. The Little Mermaid and the Ugly Duckling were some of our favorites growing up. One of his lesser known tales is "The Emperor's New Clothes." In case some are unfamiliar with the story, here is a very brief summary:

Once upon a time, there was an Emperor who loved to show off his beautiful clothes to his people. One day, the Emperor hires two tailors that promise him the finest, best suit of clothes from a fabric invisible to anyone who is unfit for his position. The Emperor cannot see the cloth himself, but pretends that he can for fear of appearing unfit for his position; his ministers do the same. When the suit is finished, the Emperor then marches in procession before his subjects, who play along with the pretense. Everyone said, loud enough for the others to hear:
"Look at the Emperor's new clothes. They're beautiful!"....

"What a marvellous train!"

"And the colors! The colors of that beautiful fabric!

"I have never seen anything like it in my life!"

Suddenly, a child in the crowd, too young to understand the desirability of keeping up the pretense, blurts out that the Emperor is wearing nothing at all and the cry is taken up by others. The Emperor cringes, suspecting the assertion is true, but holds himself up proudly and continues the procession, deciding never to be so vain again and to take his position more seriously.


Steve said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Toni said...

When I read the article entitled, "Follow the Prophet," (iirc) I counted 15 instances wherein the words "Follow the prophet" was used (counting the title), 2 where it pretty much said the same thing, and 5 where it was definitely implied.

I wondered why the extreme emphasis. Oh, there was at least one instance (possibly more) of "follow the Spirit" and it was in connection with the other (follow the Spirit and the Prophet). I didn't notice that there were as many articles as you pointed out, though I did notice there were several with this emphasis.

My concern is why is there so much emphasis on this? The emphasis should be "Follow Christ" and "Follow the Spirit". I don't get it. Are we being swallowed up by a vain man? A vain system? A trap the adversary is setting up for us that our leaders are unwittingly helping set? I've lived too long in this world and I've studied the Book of Mormon too extensively to believe that "all is well in Zion" and that the Gentiles are doing well, the Lord is pleased with them (the Book of Mormon plainly says that we Gentiles will, by and large, lose the gospel - it is the descendants of Lehi who will ultimately be the majority of members: the "Remnant").

Anonymous said...

Toni.. Amen to everything you said

Anonymous said...

I've been thinking about the rameumpton lately. All the people went up to the stand, said the same thing, returned to their seats and never mentioned the Lord until the next time they met. Many of the testimonies I hear do have similar components. I remember in one ward the Primary children were bearing their testimonies in abundance and they all said the same thing!

I wonder if the cause of this emphasis on the prophet is that:
1) It makes us feel special because we have a prophet/man close to God
2) It validates us by association
3) It relieves us of the necessity of getting close to Him ourselves

In the same way we don't associate the warnings to Gentiles to LDS Church members, we also don't see the connection between the arm of flesh and the president of the Church.

Toni said...

Anonymous, this - "In the same way we don't associate the warnings to Gentiles to LDS Church members, we also don't see the connection between the arm of flesh and the president of the Church," is so very true. And when a person tries to point out the connection, many people become very upset and feel the need to "defend the prophet" as if the person who is pointing out that trusting Christ is where the safety lies is somehow apostate.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

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Anonymous said...

This is a hard thing for me. I don't know where I fit in, what to say, what to be quiet about, how come others are accepting the way things are going and what is in the Church publications - the very Church I am a faithful member of. I am the Primary Pres in my ward and this month's Sharing Time lessons are all on "Follow the Prophet". I feel an obligation to teach what the manual says because that is what the Church has asked of me. (Thanksfully it's not my month to teach Sharing Time). But I do see things differently than the mainstream members. So, I don't know where I fit in with this Church or how to explain these doctrines of men to my children. At home we teach things a little differently.

Taylor said...


Couldn't agree more.

Inspire said...

Really, there is only one way through your dilemma:

And at that day, when I shall come in my glory, shall the parable be fulfilled which I spake concerning the ten virgins. For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived—verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day.

For me, taking the Holy Spirit for my guide could mean anything, but in a church setting, it mostly means keeping my mouth shut. However, if the Spirit says talk, I thoughtfully talk. The thing is, if I develop a "policy" of always speaking out, or never or whatever, then I am no different than the correlated manuals. The Spirit is the ONLY thing that will get us through these times, otherwise we will be deceived.

The other important thing to note is that unless we have been commissioned by the Lord to speak out (which some have, I'm sure), then I would avoid offending Him (taking His name in vain) and assuming that obligation on myself. He is in charge. It's His work, not mine. Discreetly teaching each other is fine, IMO, but "taking a stand" will only get us interviews with the bishop, who will then remove us from many opportunities to share as the Spirit directs.

Toni said...

Perhaps the owner of this blog could take the email address out of the above post for the privacy of the poster?

Anonymous said...

We are only obligated to & should only, follow the Prophet if he is following the Lord.

We are commanded to judge, by the scriptures, if the Prophet IS following the Lord or not.

Prophets aren't allowed to preach anything 'contrary' to what the scriptures say or contrary to any previous revelation by other true prophets (like Joseph Smith).

We are accountable to question everything a prophet or apostle does or says, to determine & discern if they are righteous or not & trustworthy to listen to or not.

Joseph Smith warned about not following anyone who taught contrary to the scriptures & teachings he brought forth. (like BY & other leaders did constantly after Joseph's death)

And it is false & contrary to scriptures & church history to say & preach that 'Prophet's can't lead us astray'. Those who study church history & the scriptures realize that Prophets 'can & many have' lead the Church astray in the past.

The scriptures (BoM) are full of examples of the true church having to be re-established over & over, because all the members & leaders always soon become wicked & go into apostasy. Ancient prophets foretold that the same kind of apostasy would happen again in these last days, starting with Joseph's day.

Hence, we are commanded to beware of 'false or fallen' prophets & apostles in the Church, for there have been many in the past also & must be expected in the present & future .

Teaching blind & unquestioning obedience is the fastest way to blind a people, lull them asleep & lead them astray.

Satan loves when people believe in blind obedience & not thinking & questioning everything for themselves.

Satan loves what the leaders of the Church are now teaching.

For only those with the courage to 'seek & search' for the truth will find it.

We are commanded to 'prove' all things & only hold fast to that which is good.

If we allow ourselves to be deceived, even by a prophet, we can lose our exaltation.

It is the test of this life for us to 'prove' that we have the Holy Spirit as our guide & have gained a knowledge of good & evil from the scriptures, so we can discern right from wrong, truth from error, devils from saints & true prophets from false prophets.

The wicked & weak always prefer blind obedience & want to just follow a leader & not have to discern, judge, think, study or pray about everything for themselves.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. Amen.

Anonymous said...

join the 'club'. I understand how you feel. I have long felt, though, that it is important to be 'wise as a serpent; harmless as a dove'. In other words, teach your family and protect them from the false doctrine, especially by reading the Book of Mormon consistently and prayerfully. And then go ahead and fulfill as much of the program as you feel you can. It's hard; I know. You may get some blank stares if you say, "Jesus said, 'Come, follow me'" while trying to 'please' the church program. You might choose different things that prophets have advised church members to do and find where those things are emphasized in the scriptures, and then use the scriptures as your basis. Could be interesting. There are usually ways to get around it and keep your integrity intact and still please the programmers. I don't know. A member of my family is very troubled over the new changes in Primary and sees (she is a primary teacher) how hard it is on the children to spend so much time in a classroom; everyone misses the nice sharing times.
I don't mean to give advice. I don't really have any, but this is what I would do. I would go back to the words of Jesus Christ and go back to the scriptures.

Anonymous said...

you make some good points, Inspire. It's hard to have to be so cautious all the time, but it's good training in self-discipline, I suppose. I feel the same way. Sometimes it feels like duplicity, but it is what I have been led to do.

Anonymous said...

If you want to know truth read the Bible. The ever changing gospel of Mormonism is leading many down to hell.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his ONLY begotton son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Joseph Smith was a proud man and a liar and he broke Emma's heart with his lustful life. He will burn in hell for eternity for those he have led away from the true word of God, The Bible.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. It might be time to read an interesting book, Anonymous. It's all online, here:

The evidence is pretty heavily in favor of Joseph Smith being a man who fought polygamy with every breath he had. It was only the high leaders in the LDS church who followed him that smeared his name with polygamous tales in order to justify their own practice of a thing which, in Jacob 2 in the Book of Mormon, is wholly condemned by the Lord.