Friday, January 24, 2014


  “Surely one of the crowning blessings of membership in this Church
 is the blessing of being led by living prophets of God…..
Trusting in and following the prophets is more than a blessing and a privilege.
President Ezra Taft Benson declared that “our [very] salvation hangs on
following the prophet….
We can choose to follow the prophet, or we can look to the arm of flesh.
May we have the wisdom to trust in and follow the counsel of the living prophets and apostles.”
Elder Duncan October 2010 General Conference

After reading the above counsel given to us in General Conference, my question would be: “Is the Prophet's arm not make out of flesh?”

There is a fun primary song called “Do as I’m doing.. Follow, follow me” These words are sung while the person leading the music performs an simple action while singing “if I do it high or low.. if I do it fast or slow.. Do as I’m doing; Follow, follow me.”

The direction to follow means to do as another has done. Christ asks us all to come, follow Him. He is only One we should follow. Yet, today’s mantra seems to be “Come, Follow the Prophet.”  

I recently read a couple of reports from people who attended their Stake Conference a few weeks ago. One the Twelve Apostles was in attendance and was the concluding speaker. It was reported that after he spoke, the congregation sang 6 of 7 verses of the closing song and as the sister assigned the closing prayer approached the rostrum, the apostle then stood up again. He asked the sister for a moment to address the congregation before she prayed and he shared the following the story before the closing prayer was given. He said that there was a devotional at BYU when another apostle spoke. During the closing hymn, some of the students in the building stood to sing. Their closing hymn ended and the apostle stood again and said, "I love you and so I want to teach you something. I noticed that some of you, in your enthusiasm, stood during the closing hymn. You should always follow the presiding authority in the meeting. If he stands, you stand. If he sits, you sit." The apostle then yielded the pulpit to the person who would say the prayer. The apostle in this recent Stake Conference then told us: "The day is coming that you will have to follow the prophet. If he stands, you must stand. If he sits, you sit." And with those words, he sat down and the benediction was given.

The report by one who attended then said and I quote, “Praise be to a loving Father in Heaven. There is a prophet in these, the Latter-Days! Let me be among those who stand or sit as he directs.”

In the Catholic Church, the priests and superior religious leaders are treated with the utmost respect. The rules are that all in room or congregation is to stand when the leaders enter the room and remain standing until they invite the congregation to sit. Men must remove their hats in their presence. When it is your own Bishop, kneel on your left knee and kiss ring as sign of respect for his office.

 I read recently why this formality began in the Catholic Church. “The Pope did not need to display virtue, only power. He did not need to produce revelation or expound on how men could entertain angels, only to appear in the seat of power, displaying the incidents of authority, wealth, privilege, standing above the common man in a place filled with art, treasure, statuary surrounded by supporters. These trappings were a substitute for revelation and authentic fruits from heaven. This formula worked to keep all of Christendom subordinate to the rule of oftentimes wicked, even cruel, men. For nearly a thousand years it monopolized power over men. Because these pontiffs claimed to hold God's authority, people feared them and were loathe to challenge them. When the bedrock of an institution's claims rests on authority, these failings are almost always eventually unavoidable. God's power is so resilient, so powerful, so vital for salvation that almost all men will surrender to it or be forced to submit when a group trusts that it exists. These are powerful forces. When released upon the stage of history, they are meant to be held by only the meek, the humble, and the servants of all. Never by the proud, the vain, and the ambitious. But it is always the proud, the vain and the ambitious who are drawn to seek to hold such authority. Hence the many sycophants who always congregate at Rome.” DS Remembering the Covenant. Volume 4 pg 1356

 Many of us have heard the Brigham Young quote that was also cited by Harold B Lee in the October General Conference in 1950.   “I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are being led by Him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind security, trusting their eternal desting in the hand of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would twart the purposed of God in their salvation, and weaken that influence they could give their leaders if they know for themselves by the revelations of Jesus Christ that they are led in the right way. Let every man and woman know by the whisperings of the Spirit of God to themselves whether their leaders are walking in the way the Lord dictates or not. (As cited by Harold B Lee, Conference Report, October 1, 1950)

“I do not believe God was meant to be experienced second and third-hand. I do not believe we are supposed to "know about God" but were instead, according to Christ's doctrine, to "know God." He will make Himself known to you. Not vicariously through a Pope, or a Bishop, or an Archbishop, or a Cardinal, or a Stake President, or some other preacher. He, Christ, and He, the Father and the Holy Ghost are the ones who are to declare themselves to you. Then you aren't building on the sandy, unstable foundation comprised of the many varieties of the hireling intermediary who gets acclaim here, praise and adoration here, as an inappropriate surrogate for He alone who can save. When men get put between the individual and God almost every individual immediately begins to exercise control, and dominion and compulsion over others. It is a wise God who restricts His delegation of "power" to such a degree that it cannot be exercised unrighteously.”  DS Remembering the Covenant. Volume 4 pg 1328

 Someone left a comment on a previous post that I really appreciated. I don’t know who the author was, but this is what they wrote: “God will never remove our ability to have a choice. In order to make a choice, you have to have at least two options. When you remove all other options, there is only one option left so how can there be a choice? By making a statement "The Prophet will not or cannot lead you astray" automatically removes the perception of any options and by definition puts him in a position of control, which is what the war in heaven was about! If you buy into that logic, you have moved over to the dark side. This places a greater responsibility on us to have Him as our standard to measure ideas and revelations against. While it is usually a simple process, it's not always easy, and yes we often don't get totally correct on the first pass. It becomes a learning and sharing process. Thank Heaven for the atonement, patience and forgiveness!”

 So lets hope we don’t add “Stand when your prophet stands, and sit when your prophets sits.” to the list of mantras like “When the Prophet speaks, … the debate is over.” and “When our leaders speak, the thinking has been done.”


Anonymous said...

my goodness; this is scary--

I innocently sang "Follow the prophet" for years as an adult (it wasn't around when I was a child)--

about 10 years or so ago I began to think about the words of the song and realized that it wasn't scripturally correct--

but that apostle is saying some very scary things--

Anonymous said...

Quite the can of worms you've opened :) But I completely agree.
I've heard a saying that the Catholics have a doctrine of an infallible Pope that no one really believes. The Mormons have a doctrine of a fallible President that no one really believes.

John The-Not-So-Beloved said...

I would probably be willing to "implement" the teachings of President Monson as good advice. Generally he talks about doing good things, reading nice poetry, being kind to others, visiting the sick, helping the poor, etc. etc.. I think in that sense you can certainly have the latter-day saint form of "following the prophet". However, you can get pretty much to the same place by "following Dr. Laura". Sound advice with a dose of goodness. All true prophets called people to repentance with little or no poetry but with "plainness" so they would not err. In the church I feel often like our "prophet" shares the ABC's of the gospel but fails to instruct on the other 23 letters of the alphabet. Only Christ is the purveyor of all 26. Follow Christ.

Rob said...

There are many glaring discrepancies between what the scriptures say and what many in our church teach. When you start reading the scriptures, these things start jumping out to you.

Who were the arms of the flesh in times past? Are there any examples of errant leaders who had a legitimate claim to authority in the scriptures? What happened to them and those who blindly (that is, rested in their claims to authority rather than seeking God's opinion) followed them?

I find it incredible that at least twice an angel from God's presence has told men not to bow to him because he is their "fellow servant," yet we continue bowing and scraping to telestial men here on earth. " Act honestly before God and man. Beware of Gentile sophistry; such as bowing and scraping unto men in whom you have no confidence. Be honest, open, and frank in all your intercourse with mankind." (JS, TPJS 107)

Taylor said...

Well said.

Toni said...

After reading the opening quote, I am reminded of another quote that goes something like this: "Damnable heresies! Doctrines of devils! They enter not in themselves and will damn you if you will let them." Well I'll go read the rest. David usually has really good posts.

Toni said...

I think the actual words are "heed them," not "let them."

Toni said...

Lol. What I first wrote was a copy and paste from a text message to a friend who told me you had a new post. Ignore those last 2 sentences. They were directed to my friend. Not being signed in, I cannot delete it then rewrite it correctly.

DarylinMesa said...

Two nights ago I went to a meeting designated for fathers and their scout age sons (12-18). There was a 70 & YM General President speaking to us. When the final hymn was sung, a man sitting in the choir loft behind the presiding authorities rose to stand when the interlude music began. The rest of the congregation stood, including the authorities. The meeting ended without further comment or incident.

It really makes me wonder why a leader would want that kind of control over the people. To tell them that the only reason why he is sharing it with them is because he loves them? Ugh! Let's be honest...

Anonymous said...

When the prophet stands, hasn't the standing been done? Seems like we should stay sitting in that case. :P

Valariel said...

"He [the new history teacher] walked rapidly and seemed to know exactly what he wanted. All of us stood up. With a small gesture of annoyance he told us to sit down. "Gentlemen,' he said, 'I ask you to listen to me, not obey me. This land will surely perish if everyone obeys.'"

An interesting excerpt from my favorite book, 'And There Was Light', the autobiography of Jacques Lusseyran. He was blind from the age of eight, and at 15, found himself in a life-changing history class being taught in the midst of the Nazi occupation of France.

Anonymous said...

I feel quite strongly that the church has devolved over the past few years from being occasionally guided by revelation to now pretty much where the church was in 325AD at the time of the council at Nicea, where all decisions were made by the doctrines of men mingled with scripture. Those who attended the temple before 1990 will recall whose plan it was for men to be guided by the doctrines of men mingled with scripture.

BB said...

Great Reference to the Pre-1990 endowment.
A great reference for this is, as it gives the pre-1990 and post side by side.
It’s interesting the phrase Lucifer stated was.... "We teach a religion made of the philosophies of men, mingled with scripture”. Lucifer was referencing his preachers that were teaching this religion.
Another point is Lucifer tried to "lead the witness", in this case Adam, and set him up to Follow the Preacher....
LUCIFER: [Indicating Adam.] Here is a man who desires religion. He is very much exercised and seems to be sincere.
PREACHER: I understand that you are inquiring after religion.
ADAM: I was calling upon Father.
I find it interesting how Lucifer tried to change what Adam was seeking to religion…Instead of the truth that he was “calling upon Father.” Lucifer created Religion, and taught it from the beginning. The Post 1990 endowment says Lucifer was “observing the teaching” when in reality he was teaching and creating the
The Gospel and the LDS Church is only effective to the point where an individual seeks God themselves. Anytime it tries to get in-between that relationship…AMEN to the Priesthood or Power as may be supposed.

Anonymous said...

Valariel, You mention a gem of a book. I hope others may be inclined to consider reading it. It is one of my favorites too. Vive la resistance. Hymns 16, 17, 234, 323.

Anonymous said...

I am in awe of the power, purpose and pure message of the endowment! Praise to the Man who actually communed with Jehovah!

Have you ever listened to a piano that was played out of tune?!? Like, not only is something just not right ... but, even if you have never listened with your ears to a tuned piano, something so deep inside of you will not rest, will never completely agree that what you are hearing is the right song...especially when the person at the piano has to keep telling you "I promise, seriously, this is totally the way it is suppose to sound!!!" Ugh!!! Please ... the noise is killing me!

@ BB - Agreed! Satan is totally the God of not only this world, but of religion, preachers, false priests who oppress AND the philosophies of men, mingled with scripture. Bottom line, have faith, expect true messengers (that IS the plan) ... God doesn't leave it to any "man" to do his work. It is HIS work and glory. We are to ridiculously full of ourselves! Truly meek and humble, called and chosen, men AND women are very, very rare.

MarkinPNW said...

Yes, but as soon as those very rare "Truly meek and humble, called and chosen, men AND women..." start thinking that they are special or rare for being "chosen" they fall right back into being "too ridiculously full of ourselves!".

Of course not me, I'm especailly proud of my great humility (LOL).

Anonymous said...

For individuals that teach regularly that they hold all the "keys," they sure don't seem to be opening many "doors" -- well, unless you count the ribbon cutting and doors that open to the City Creek Mall?

Maybe I'm over-stepping? I should give credit, I mean, these individuals, who are only doing that which has been done in other worlds, do offer an on-going sale on "signs and tokens," of course for the right price (a mere 10% of your income); which purchased plan provides you with the standard "together forever" family pack, "All is well in Zion" false sense of security and, of course, an upgraded belief system after attending the temple that you are actually receiving visitations from your own "ministering angels" aka true messengers, broadcasted twice annually -- sorry poor, seating in the celestial (scratch celestial) I meant telestial kingdom is limited and requires, again, umm ... "have you any money," oops ... I mean "sacrifice" :( note that "sacrifice" will be verified annually at interview with church leadership, aka man who "literally represents Jesus" ... income documentation / verification a plus. (psst! buyer beware, purchased "blessings" and false sense of security ... umm, only good while in mortality; sorry, holder of your funds is unable to support buyers at the last day)

on a brighter note "poor," those who have been socially kicked out of the synoguages and barred from temple for non-payment ... it should be known that the only "god" asking for payment, is the same "god" that is buying "up armies and navies, false priests who oppress, and tyrants who destroy" so he / they can "reign with blood and horror on the earth!" Our Father, the one that matters, (does require sacrifice) but is busy doing his marvelous work and a wonder regardless of payment!

Is there not just a little bit of irony that money is exchanged specific to temple access for individuals seeking "eternal blessings" and yet Christ threw money changers from the temple? Maybe I have the story wrong, or apple and oranges? Am I missing a scripture? Did Christ in his mortal ministry, or in the BOM (which contains the fullness of the gospel) ask his followers for money before teaching, before appearing, before sharing? Did Joseph have to pay money to receive his "endowment"? Did Joseph require payment, worthiness interviews, recommends and tithing settlement prior to providing the endowment to others? Our Savior, the one who simply said, I will come to you, I will not leave you comfortless, come unto me, draw near to me, I will draw near to you … come follow me, and I will give you (eternal) rest … here, now, in mortality! This same Jesus now needs a “New and Returning Member Progress” form?

What did Joseph know about the endowment that we do not? What understanding was he conveying that we maybe, just maybe, don’t quite get? And how is it, that in decades of membership in the LDS church, it took following the voice of the Holy Ghost, receiving, well … is the endowment really so “sacred” that those who claim “witness” status, who are constantly reminding the masses of their keys, can’t teach, expound, and lead the very people they are requiring money of through this incredible work, even magnum opus that was the endowment that was given through Joseph?

Something is just not right. yes...follow Christ!

Toni said...

What is the “New and Returning Member Progress” form?

Anonymous said...

Toni said...

Lol. :-D

Toni said...

Thanks. Wow! Where does anything on that paper is there any mention of coming to Christ? It looks like it's a progression in the outward appearances, a checklist of minimum requirements that "we want you to accomplish, but you aren't privy to this info."

Toni said...

That made no sense: "Where does anything on that paper is there any mention ...." - It should read, "Where, on that paper, is there any mention of coming to Christ?"

Anonymous said...

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints IS the Great and Abominable church the Book of Mormon speaks of.

We have revealed Scripture written for our day , have it in front of us, and it is ignored.
Joseph Smith would not recognize the Gospel he restored nor the organization and workings of the church organization.


Clark said...

I think you are incorrect. Joseph would recognize it, but it would be recognized as a fallen church, as it was in Jesus' day. I read another blog entry on this the other day. It is worth a read.