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Defending the Faith: Defending the Faith: Keeping our eye on the president of the church

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  • aka MOUNT PLEASANT, UT
    July 7, 2011 7:03 a.m.

    Is there anything in the scriptures that teaches the doctrine that is found in these two quotes?

    '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.'"

    "I say to Israel," Wilford Woodruff declared, "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."

  • Owen Heber City, UT
    July 7, 2011 8:07 a.m.

    Amen. Amen. And Amen. There's another sentence after President Woodruff's quote that goes to the heart of agency: "If I were to attempt that (lead members astray), the Lord would remove me ...". The challenge is that we mortals will never know how/if a prophet has been "removed." Better to hedge our bets, assume a great deal of "thinking has been done" from a broader and more enlightened perspective.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    July 7, 2011 8:27 a.m.

    Dear aka: Your comment is exactly the reason we have living prophets and continuing modern revelation. These statements by prophets are becoming our new continuing sciptures. Either we sustain the Prophet or we don't. This is what seperates the sheep from the goats. If we follow the Prophet we will be blessed and protected from the evils of the world. If we don't, we will be left to our own devices.

    "I the Lord am bound when ye do what I say. But, when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise."

    "If it is by my word or the word of any of my servants, it is the SAME."

    We need to follow the Prophet and have the faith to know it is right. This is the test for all of us.

  • JonP Baraboo, WI
    July 7, 2011 8:31 a.m.

    Well put Dr. Peterson! I appreciate your clarity on this issue.

  • christoph Brigham City, UT
    July 7, 2011 8:39 a.m.

    To answer "aka" ----- end of the D&C, page 292 in triple combination, official declaration number 1. Granted, it is your second quote that is there and not the first. I've heard somebody recently ask "what if I give everything to the law of consecration (which we aren't living) and my family starves to death" What happens then???.......Mr Peterson answers it: your blood would be on God's hands and not the person asking you to obey. God would have to make it up to you. To Mr. Peterson: did you ever tell Mr. Hugh Nibley your politics? I would have liked to be in that room when you did.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    July 7, 2011 8:41 a.m.

    Cats - the prophet speaking is not scripture. It is guidance, suggestions, etc. but it is not scripture. The prophet reveals no new doctrine, hasn't for quite some time. He may reinforce current doctrine with the talks he gives, but it is not considered scripture or revelation.

  • Eric the Half-bee Bountiful, UT
    July 7, 2011 8:45 a.m.

    Well said. You deftly described the perils of superimposing politics over doctrine.

  • Globetrecker Arlington, va
    July 7, 2011 8:46 a.m.

    Excellent article Dr. Peterson! A lot of people are still having problems with Prop 8 when it's strikingly clear from modern revelation (and old revelation) where the Lord and the prophets stand on marriage. And yet, there are too many who nit pick and say that The Family: A Proclamation to the World is not "revelation" and just an opinion. Isn't it interesting that people will only believe the modern revelation that they want to believe, or what fits in their social constructs?

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    July 7, 2011 9:09 a.m.

    "You may not like what comes from the authority of the church," said President Harold B. Lee, serving at the time as a counselor to President Joseph Fielding Smith. "It may conflict with your political views. It may contradict your social views. It may interfere with some of your social life. Your safety and ours depends upon whether or not we follow. Let's keep our eye on the president of the church."

    How democratic - God expects you to forfeit you moral obligation of voting your conscience, and to instead participate in a block vote on Mormon politics. Can we really say that the Church endorses patriotic ideals with rhetoric like this??

  • Walt Nicholes Orem, UT
    July 7, 2011 9:34 a.m.

    This article practically begs for a rebuttal, but I wonder if a rebuttal would be tolerated in this forum?

    The scriptures proclaim that the voice of the majority is usually right (Mosiah 29:26.) Heber J. Grant (and others) declare that the prophet will never lead the people astray. What if the voice of the people come into conflict with the counsel of the prophet?

    Bro. Peterson has said that the church Public Affairs department is not a rogue operation. But it can issue a statement that provides plausible deniability. And it can take a general direction given to it by leaders and massage it in a way that may not reflect the original intent of the leaders.

    If God has spoken on this issue (as compared to the speaking reflecting the combined wisdom of the Brethren) then let someone stand up and say - "Thus saith the Lord." That alone will be sufficient for those who feel that they have private inspiration to the contrary in the matter.

  • Searching . . . . Orem, UT
    July 7, 2011 9:34 a.m.

    We've discussed circular logic on these boards before. Does no one see the circular logic in these statements? "If I were to attempt that (lead members astray), the Lord would remove me." If a used car salesman made a similar statement to you, what would you think? "Trust me because I say I am trustworthy."

    I can understand following leader because you believe he is a prophet, but backing that belief by arguing that "the prophet said we should follow him because HE said that God said that he was trustworthy and would remove him if he tried to deceive" is weak logic.

    Since the beginning of the church, prophets have instigated polygamy (with polyandry) and rescinded it. Smith ordained African-Americans; Young stopped the practice; Kimball returned it. There is no revelation from Brigham regarding his policy, but because of it an entire portion of God's children could not enjoy the fullness of the gospel's blessings. There are many explanations and rationalization about the policy, but it seems Young had a large sway over the direction of the church with little official guidance to explain it.

  • aka MOUNT PLEASANT, UT
    July 7, 2011 9:35 a.m.

    To christoph: Did the church ever vote on adding that to the printed scriptures?
    Or was it just put in between the two Official Declarations?

  • Thinkman Provo, UT
    July 7, 2011 9:35 a.m.

    When the prophet speaks the thinking has been done.

    When we think we may be in conflict with what the prophet has said. It almost seems that God, as we learn from his prophets in the near past, doesn't want us to use critical reasoning and thinking skills in the conduct of our lives.

    Bramabull,

    Have to disagree with you on the prophet not revealing any new doctrine. Each and every general conference is considered to be a time for providing revelation which is often new doctrine. The counsel (i.e. revelation) and doctrine that Pres Hinckley gave on only wearing 1 pair of earrings was new doctrine. Elder Ballard counseling against wearing flip flops and jean skirts to church was new doctrine, ergo, new revelation from God as he and the sitting prophet claim to be prophets, seers and revelators.

  • Steve Warren West Valley City, UT
    July 7, 2011 9:39 a.m.

    Unfortunately, Dr. Peterson, presidents of the Church sometimes err, even on doctrinal matters. Our duty is to always follow the Spirit and to follow the leaders of the Church when they are correct. The following statement by a member of the Twelve is a well-deserved rebuke for those who would automatically follow Church leaders:

    "We have heard men who hold the priesthood remark that they would do anything they were told to do by those who presided over them, if they knew it was wrong; but such obedience as this is worse than folly to us; it is slavery in the extreme; and the man who would thus willingly degrade himself should not claim a rank among intelligent beings, until he turns from his folly. A man of God . . . would despise the idea."

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    July 7, 2011 9:48 a.m.

    Mormoncowboy,

    I don't think the quote from Harold B. Lee is specifically political, but rather generally so.

    That is, it's not about whether I vote for candidate A or candidate B or adhere myself to party A or to party B. Rather that, on certain specific topics such as those mentioned by Dr. Peterson, members on both sides of the political spectrum may sometimes have to review their political views in light of the prophet's counsel.

    Note that in 35 years of interviews, I cannot recall ever having been asked about my politics. Further, I can recall several incidents where local leaders asked that political opinions not be expressed within church meetings.

  • Cold Ute West Valley City, Utah
    July 7, 2011 10:03 a.m.

    To Steve Warren:

    Who gave the statement you quoted in your 9:39 a.m. post and when and where was it given?

    Thanks.

  • Hellooo Salt Lake City, UT
    July 7, 2011 10:05 a.m.

    Dr. Peterson interesting article. Thank You! However, support of the Prophet does not mean blind following. Hear his words, and then follow the actions of a reverred prophet of the past Nephi and pray for personal confirmation. Once that comes, then as he did lead out in support.

  • full disclosure Providence, UT
    July 7, 2011 10:12 a.m.

    Mr.Peterson- In reference to'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.'"
    What if what the prophet says is in complete opposition to the feelings we experience through the Light of Christ which is given to all men and the Holy Ghost which is given to members of the church.
    An example would be women that were asked to be involved in polygamy. Acording to their journals they felt it was wrong. Should they have obeyed?
    There is also the subject of blood atonement. Brigham Young said "Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God is death on the spot." Any thoughts?

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    July 7, 2011 10:13 a.m.

    Twin Lights:

    Perhaps you didn't read the article, because Peterson pointed three times when the Church did tell members how to vote. Two of those times the pressure to vote a certain way was palpable, and the third time it was a (wink) "opinion" from the Church that holds a vested interest in the position it took (missionary work in Mexico). Of course the third time didn't really come down much of a public vote, so the pressure needed to only be applied to the State legislature.

    Peterson invoked the Harold B. Lee quote in denfense of the Church against those who are upset with the recent "unconservative" position that the Church took (is no one familiar with the fact that the Church's political roots are tied to the democratic party?). Lastly, the trouble the Church faced both in Missouri and Nauvoo were instigated by the public distrust of bloc voting Mormons. We were not only told how to vote on Prop 8, but also (wink) encouraged to campaign for it - where the only tolerance towards personal preference was to decide how much "support" we are willing to give in the affirmative.

  • We the People Sandy, UT
    July 7, 2011 10:14 a.m.

    Bramabull:

    I do not agree with your statement about revelation. See Doctrine and Covenants 68:4 "And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the aHoly Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the bpower of God unto salvation."

    Thinkman, I do not agree with you, either. Statements against flip flops at Church or too many pairs of earrings (though I agree with both) are not doctrine. Doctrine is a set a of principles which a religion, in this case, presents as truth necessary for salvation or central beliefs of the religion. Thus, to the LDS Church, the Atonement, Resurrection, Eternal Marriage, the Fall of Man, the Creation, and the nature of the Godhead are doctrines.

    Not wearing flip flops at Church, visiting teaching, and even, yes, Green Jello are not doctrines, but rather policies, counsel, programs, and, in the case of Jello, just plain tasty (or nasty, depending on how it is prepared).

  • BobP Port Alice, B.C.
    July 7, 2011 10:26 a.m.

    Immigration sure does stir up the worst in "Zion Mormons".

    Many years ago I incurred the ire of a district president for saying that the book "Marvelous Work and a Wonder" was not scripture. I went to the Branch President for a temple recommend and he signed it. The District President would not.

    Being a district the recommend also had to be signed by the Mission President. My comment had preceded me to the Mission President who, after an interview, simply said I was mostly correct and signed. The Mission President was Boyd K. Packer.

    We must do our own thinking. I can recall a few times that I questioned local authority but no time have I questioned the Prophet

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    July 7, 2011 10:42 a.m.

    Thinkman - I respect your opinion, but do disagree with it. Wearing flip flops to church and only wearing 1 pair of earrings is neither revelation or doctrine. Doctrine is a teaching, or eternal truth. I am pretty sure there didn't need to be a revelation for people not to wear flip flops and earrings to church. I am also quite sure that god doesn't care if people wear flip flops and more than one pair of earrings to church - you can still hold a temple reccommend if you do those things, so really it is just a suggestion. To say that god cares about such trivial things would be rediculous in my view. I think god would be more concerned on people being good people, following the commandmants of god, being honest, chaste, etc. Again, I think he wouldn't care what you wore to church in the end. Afterall, in Jerusalem he and the apostles wore sandals, and he never ever said anything on the topic because it doesn't pertain to one's eternal salvation.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    July 7, 2011 10:52 a.m.

    We the people - I see what you are saying, however there are many things written in the Doctrine and Covenants that are not binding to the church today. Example: the word of wisdom as revealed by Joseph Smith is not followed by the church today. The original word of wisdom allowed for the drinking of beer and the occasional liquor. That was backed up by statments by Brigham Young, Wilford Woodruff, and others. Meat was said to only be eaten in times of winter and famine and sparingly so. So beer was ok, meat was not. Now the church doesn't care how much meat one eats, but drink a beer and you can't go to the temple. Doesn't make sense that the church could change the word of wisdom that god himself revealed to Joseph. So any statement taken from the D and C is subject to being disputed. If we can ignore the word of wisdom as stated in the D and C, then the same could be said about any statement in the D and C.

  • Steve Warren West Valley City, UT
    July 7, 2011 10:52 a.m.

    To Cold Ute:

    The source for my quote is Elder Samuel Richards, the Millennial Star, Nov. 12, 1852. His "we" likely references a couple of other apostles who were also in the British Isles at the time. I put a more complete version below:

    "We have heard men who hold the priesthood remark, that they would do anything they were told to do by those who presided over them, if they knew it was wrong; but such obedience as this is worse than folly to us; it is slavery in the extreme; and the man who would thus willingly degrade himself should not claim a rank among intelligent beings, until he turns from his folly. A man of God . . . would despise the idea. Others, in the extreme exercise of their almighty authority have taught that such obedience was necessary, and that no matter what the saints were told to do by their presidents, they should do it without asking any questions. When Elders of Israel will so far indulge in these extreme notions of obedience as to teach them to the people, it is generally because they have it in their minds to do wrong themselves."

  • Cold Ute West Valley City, Utah
    July 7, 2011 11:02 a.m.

    To Steve Warren:

    Thank you!

  • We the People Sandy, UT
    July 7, 2011 11:14 a.m.

    Brahmabull:

    God can and does reveal his will piecemeal from time to time. Tithing, for example, was the result of the failed consecration efforts of the Church. Your idea that the Church does change policy is well-taken; I can think of too many examples to count. However, the doctrines stay the same.

    However, I do not agree with your statement about disregarding scripture. I do not believe that members of the LDS Church can simply disregard portions of the Doctrine and Covenants because they are "subject to being disputed."

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    July 7, 2011 12:32 p.m.

    The problem is that Brahmabull is not a member of the Church. As has been stated in these comments and by Mr. Peterson, The Family - Proclamation to the World is revelation, not new doctrine but concise and true revelation. It is binding on the Church to obey its guidance. Many say I follow the Prophet blindly, but the problem is they have not been in my shoes so they are going strickly on opinion. I've studied each stand the leaders have taken. Reviewed their words and prayed about it. EACH time I have received in the confirmation that their words are true. A prophet of the Lord can not and will not lead The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints astray.

    The problem with some is that they don't understand that when the Word of Wisdom was first given that it was a guide. Today it is a commandment. Why, because as precept upon precept comes from the Lord, things become more and more clear. This is what has happened with the Word of Wisdom. Also, Brahmabull, meat is still supposed to be ate sparingly. One is asked if they obey the Word of Wisdom.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    July 7, 2011 12:37 p.m.

    Continued:

    The question ask if you obey the Word of Wisdom. Not how much you eat, how much beer you drink, how much wine you drink or anything of that nature. It is up to the individual to answer it honestly. Obesisty for some is genetic and others it is plain glutton. I eat meat mostly at dinner time. Sometime at other meals. Still I eat with a full plate of vegetables. My desserts are fruits. I eat very little salt. It is up to the individual. I'm not heavy nor pudgy. I eat quite healthy. Most LDS do so and it has been recorded that LDS who obey the WOW strickly live longer than their peers.

    It is recorded that one beer, one glass of wine and etc. is good for the heart. True, but how many people do you know will only drink one a day. NOT MANY. Tobacco has been stated not good for man or beast. Yet many still smoke and the warnings are getting stronger. Yes, the WOW was ahead of its time and the revelation is even more aparant today.

  • UtahMaus Orem, UT
    July 7, 2011 12:49 p.m.

    Thinkman: "Elder Ballard counseling against wearing flip flops and jean skirts to church was new doctrine"

    Elder Ballard didn't actually say "jean skirts." He said, "flip-flops and other casual clothing."

    His actual words in context were, "Her [a family friend] primary observation after each trip is how much the young women behave like their mothers. If the mothers are thrifty, so are their daughters. If the mothers are modest, so are the girls. If the mothers wear flip-flops and other casual clothing to sacrament meeting, so do their daughters. Mothers, your example is extremely important to your daughterseven if they dont acknowledge it."

    In context, it is quite easy to see his counsel isn't really about what to wear to sacrament meeting. It is about mothers being aware of the example they are setting for their daughters. It's obvious he doesn't think casual clothing is appropriate (neither do I), but he isn't giving counsel against it here.

  • Owen Heber City, UT
    July 7, 2011 1:02 p.m.

    "Strive to develop a maturity of mind and emotion and a depth of spirit which enables you to differ with others on matters of politics without calling into question the integrity of those with whom you differ. Allow within the bounds of your definition of religious orthodoxy variation of political belief. Do not have the temerity to dogmatize on issues where the Lord has seen fit to be silent." -- Pres. Hugh B. Brown, '68 BYU commencement address

    Seems like all Dr. Peterson is saying is the obverse of Pres. Brown's last sentence: "Do not have the audacity to dogmatize on issues where the Lord has seen fit to comment."

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    July 7, 2011 1:36 p.m.

    Bill - I shouldn't even respond to your rediculous comment that I am not a member of the church, but I will. You think that you know me and what I do without ever having met me. That is like me saying that you don't eat vegetables and fruit as you claim. That would just be rediculous. You do not know me, so don't sit there and assume that YOU know whether I am a member of the church better than I do. The word of wisdom was not ahead of its time - many writings coming from the same time frame as the WOW can be found with similar teachings on food consumption. They even say tobacco is bad, etc. You are correct when you say that meat should be eaten sparingly. I think we (yes me, you, all members of the church) would be more healthy if we followed the original word of wisdom. Drinking 8 sodas a day violates the spirit of the word of wisdom. Overeating or overdrinking on anything is not healthy and violates the spirit of the law. Everything in moderation is the message I get every time I read the Word of Wisdom revelation.

  • christoph Brigham City, UT
    July 7, 2011 1:43 p.m.

    Heber J. Grant was a democrat.

  • lds4gaymarriage Salt Lake City, UT
    July 7, 2011 1:44 p.m.

    LDS CULTURE likes to promote the idea that the prophets are infallable, but the prophets themselves never claim it.

    President Charles W. Penrose of the First Presidency, once wrote: "We do not believe in the infallibility of man. When God reveals anything it is truth, and truth is infallible. No President has claimed infallibility."

    Regarding following leaders, even when we know that they are wrong, Joseph Smith taught that it is wrong to follow leaders when they are wrong - "We have heard men who hold the priesthood remark that they would do anything they were told to do by those who preside over them [even] if they knew it was wrong; but such obedience as this is worse than folly to us; it is slavery in the extreme; and the man who would thus willingly degrade himself, should not claim a rank among intelligent beings, until he turns from his folly. A man of God would despise the idea."

    I doubt that on Judgement Day that the Lord will accept the Nurenburg Defense - "I vass tjust vollowink ohrders" - from those Saints who knowingly did wrong because their leaders asked them to.

  • lds4gaymarriage Salt Lake City, UT
    July 7, 2011 2:09 p.m.

    Pres. Woodruff's statement regarding never leading the Church astray does not mean that the prophets don't make mistakes. Consider -

    In April 1982, the prophet lowered the length of missions for elders from 24 months to 18 months. The stated thought was that if the time and financial commitments were less, more would go. They didn't. Conference reports show that over 100k fewer baptisms occured because of this.

    On January 5th, 1982, the First Presidency issued an official statement saying that a certain marital act was an "unholy and impure practice", but couples are no longer warned of this. If it really violates temple covenants, why aren't we told to refrain from it?

    Prophets also misinterpret scripture. Pres. benson said, " Would a husband be pleased if he saw his wife flirting and being coy with another man? My beloved brothers and sisters, this is what Paul meant when he said: 'Abstain from all appearance of evil' (1 Thessalonians 5:22)."

    The problem is that the word translated as "appearance" actually means "occurance" or "manifestation". The LDS KJV confirms this. Paul was ACTUALLY saying to avoid evil, no matter in what form it appears, occurs or manifests itself.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 7, 2011 2:22 p.m.

    @Bill in Nebraska
    "True, but how many people do you know will only drink one a day. NOT MANY. "

    Many people I know do that. It's easier for me to think of people who drink one a day (or sometimes will drink 2 in one day but for a week will not average more than one a day) than to think of people who average more than one a day.

  • Independent Henderson, NV
    July 7, 2011 2:50 p.m.

    I don't know the exact definition of doctrine, or even have a clear understanding of what constitutes official priesthood counsel or revelation vs a personal opinion, but I don't care. I've never found it difficult to just follow the counsel of our leaders personally. I've never understood why this is such a big issue. Honestly, what piece of counsel have they ever given that would be such a challenge to follow, regardless of whether or not it was official church doctrine? Maybe I'd see things differently if I had a gay brother or something, but for most of us, this isn't an issue. It's important not to be fanatical about our favorite doctrines or things that some general authority said once. This makes it easier to follow the current prophet and stay in the mainstream of the church. I think the Lord knows his prophets aren't perfect, but he wants us to follow them anyway. Obedience is greater than sacrifice. If that makes me a sheep, so be it. It's working for me. I don't see that I am missing out on anything significant by following any counsel from the Brethren that might not technically be doctrine.

  • Viva la Migra American Fork, UT
    July 7, 2011 2:51 p.m.

    The problem with the church and illegal immigration, is there are no official teachings or pronouncements being made in General Conference, a signed letter sent to each congregations, or other traditional "official" means.

    The notion of supporting illegal immigration and amnesty is contradictory to many official teachings in the scriptures and the basic teachings from the church regarding personal responsibility and consequences for actions.

    It seems that in this case, the public affairs office of the church is representing the "corporation" part of the organization, which wants cheap labor, instead of the "religious" part of the organization.

    Because of all of the confusion and rancor this is causing, it would be nice if the prophet would actually reveal the will of God on this issue, in a way that would prevent future generations from thinking he was "speaking as a man", which seems to be how current apologists downplay controversies from the past.

  • Independent Henderson, NV
    July 7, 2011 2:55 p.m.

    "We were not only told how to vote on Prop 8, but also (wink) encouraged to campaign for it - where the only tolerance towards personal preference was to decide how much "support" we are willing to give in the affirmative."

    Sounds like you should have supported Prop 8. The issue is simple. Do you sustain church leaders or not? No? Then what are you worried about? Do whatever you want.

  • Independent Henderson, NV
    July 7, 2011 2:56 p.m.

    I sure hope ham and funeral potatoes aren't doctrine. If so, I might apostasize.

  • hermounts Pleasanton, CA
    July 7, 2011 3:00 p.m.

    I still say, people shouldn't be allowed to get whart they want, including better opportunities for themselves and their children, by breaking the law, including other countries' immigration laws!

  • Thinkman Provo, UT
    July 7, 2011 3:03 p.m.

    When the prophet (or Apostle) speaks, when do we know it is doctrine or just an opinion or a policy?

    The point is, we don't. Joseph Fielding Smith proclaimed that we would never make it to the moon. Brigham Young said that the people on the moon are like Quakers and he preached Blood Atonement and that blacks will never have the priesthood. Bruce McKonkie said the same thing about blacks never having the priesthood.

    I hope that you know that my comments in my prvevious post were tongue-in-cheek to illustrate that one man's view on flip flops or earrings is just that, one man's opinion. That is what all of what the prophets and apostles, stake presidents and bishops give - their opinion! We would all be wise to ensure that we remember that we each have thinking and reasoning skills to come to our own conclusions of what is truth versus what is error or just some man or woman's opinion. That is what I try to do every day and try to instill in my children.

  • Independent Henderson, NV
    July 7, 2011 3:06 p.m.

    lds4gaymarriage, I see what you are saying, but what is the harm in following prophetic counsel in any of the examples you cited? I find it pretty worrisome that you would compare the leadership of the church to Nazis, especially over the issue of homosexuality. I'm curious, what else are the brethren supposedly wrong about?

    And Pres. Benson ACTUALLY said "appearance of evil" applied to flirting with other men. Why is this an issue?

  • full disclosure Providence, UT
    July 7, 2011 3:19 p.m.

    Hey Bill in Nebraska- In reference to you're on going debate with Brahamabull.

    Actually, concerning the Family proclamation President Packer in written text changed the word "revelation" to "guide" I'm not sure why he would make this change. Revelation and guide are no where close to the same word.

    You mentioned that the Word of Wisdom was ahead of it's time, sorry, but that's not true. You should check out The Cold Water society where and when it originated and also the Temperance Society. There was a strong movement prior to the word of wisdom that origanted from the Eastern states.

    As far as your comment regarding how many people can have just one drink a day, and you respond "Not many", i will reply, again not true." That is a poor defensive arguement for the word of wisdom and is a scare tactic.
    It's important to remember that we should try to be a little more open minded, a little more willing to look at all the imformation before making comments that are not factual.

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    July 7, 2011 3:44 p.m.

    This issue is at the heart of the Gospel for me. Do we as LDS believe that our leaders speak for God? I respect members like Bill in Nebraska who firmly say yes. Personally, I do not know and that can be a very difficult place to be as a member of the Church.

    My doubts come from many historical actions and words from our Prophets and Apostles that I simply cannot attribute to a loving, intelligent God. For example, the entire history of plural marriage (if you really study it rather than just placing it on your that-was-a-long-time-ago shelf) literally makes reason stare. It is beyond me how God could have thought that an important part of His restored Gospel.

    That admittedly puts me on a very slippery slope which goes something like this:

    If I believe that JS or BY or any other Prophet said or did something as a man rather than through revelation, then how can we really know when our leaders act or speak as a man versus revelation? It is a very slippery slope of doubt that is not enjoyable to be on. But I'm on it.

  • mightymite DRAPER, UT
    July 7, 2011 3:49 p.m.

    This was a wonderful article. I, however cannot substain false prophets or teachings. I have chosen to become inactive as a Latter-day Saint and this is the first forum I anounced that, although many close friends have known for months. This feels kind of good, maybe I'll get up the courage to call my mom next.....Thank you for this article and the opportunity to share.

  • Lane Myer Salt Lake City, UT
    July 7, 2011 4:16 p.m.

    Re Prop 8: Latter-day Saints are free to disagree with their church on the issue without facing any sanction, said L. Whitney Clayton of the LDS Quorum of the Seventy. "We love them and bear them no ill will."

    LDS were allowed to follow their own conscience regarding prop 8. It was never a commandment to do what the prophet asked.

    Why are you turning it into a litmus test of who believes in the prophet or not?

  • In Arizona Mesa, AZ
    July 7, 2011 4:17 p.m.

    To Thinkman: Really? You feel that earings and flip flops are doctrine and not simply guidelines? I can see it now, Bruce R. McConkie writing Mormon Doctrine and talking about earrings and flip flops!

  • lds4gaymarriage Salt Lake City, UT
    July 7, 2011 4:52 p.m.

    (Moderators, there is nothing here that violates your posting guidelines)

    Independent,

    No harm in following those I cited, except for the 18 mo. mission term which prevented over 100k baptisms. There IS harm from supporting Prop.8 which violated official doctrine. I didn't compare the leadership to NAZIs. I said that those individuals who demand complete obedience to the prophets share a hardline view of obedience with the NAZIs. JosephFieldingSmith stated that God wouldn't permit us to visit the moon or send crafts to other worlds. BY believed that there were cities on the moon. SWK was wrong on Mark Hofmann.

    ETB stated that the meaning of the verse was to avoid those things which APPEAR to be evil, even if they were innocent. The verse, in Greek, has nothing to do with how an act seems. It eschews evil in all of its forms or manifestations.

  • Denver SANDY, UT
    July 7, 2011 4:54 p.m.

    Sort of a tempest in a teapot, I think. Here's another one to consider: There is an obligation of a church president to be subject to "kings, presidents, rulers" etc. in Article of Faith Number 12. Which would mean that if Mitt Romney were elected President of the United States and visited General Conference while President, the church's president would not preside at General Conference-- since he would be subject to the United States' President (under the Article of Faith). President Mitt Romney would preside. [Of course, that would be equally true of President Obama, but he's not likely to attend. A President Mitt Romney is more likely to do so.] But the issue is one which may arise in a Presidential campaign (like John Kennedy's Catholicism and obligation to the Pope) and someone ought to point this out.

  • Owen Heber City, UT
    July 7, 2011 4:56 p.m.

    @ Arizona. You must be young. McConkies third commandment of Peculiar People (75): Thou shalt be modest in dress and appearance.
    It may come as a surprise to some people to learn that modesty in dress and grooming is related to salvation. returned missionaries to conform to the dress and grooming standards that had prevailed in their missions.
    The Bible has a great deal to say about costly and ornate apparel, about excessive use of jewelry, about garish and worldly costumes, and yes, about hair styles. Women are told to avoid "plaiting" the hair and not to wear 'broided hair.' The Holy Book approves long hair for women and short hair for men: "
    Conformity to dress and grooming standards is one of the tests the Lord imposes upon us to see if we will take counsel and to see if we can stand up against the pressures of the world. even if we are not sufficiently in tune to recognize the valid reasons behind the dress and grooming standards, we are still expected to abide by them.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    July 7, 2011 5:26 p.m.

    Bill in Nebraska, I've studied each stand the leaders have taken. Reviewed their words and prayed about it. EACH time I have received in the confirmation that their words are true.

    That seer his name shall be called Joseph(Smith), and it shall be after the name of his father. (JST 50:33)? JS prophecy

    Brigham Young, Can you make a Christian of a Jew? I tell you Nay, If a Jew comes into this church ,and the blood honestly professes to be a Saint, a follower of Christ, and if the blood of Judah is in his veins, he will apostatize.(JoD V. 2 p. 142)

  • Doctor Tucson, AZ
    July 7, 2011 5:38 p.m.

    This iis a dangerous article for the LDS. Three political directives given and guidance that you should follow it. Is michael Ash done with his series?

  • Rational Salt Lake City, UT
    July 7, 2011 5:45 p.m.

    Walt Nicholes | 9:34 a.m. July 7, 2011
    Orem, UT

    The scriptures proclaim that the voice of the majority is usually right (Mosiah 29:26.) Heber J. Grant (and others) declare that the prophet will never lead the people astray. What if the voice of the people come into conflict with the counsel of the prophet?
    ----------

    You can find the answer to that question in the next verse: And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even as he has hitherto visited this land.

    and in Mormon chapter 6, when the Nephite nation, which had grown irretrievably wicked, was completely obliterated.

    And those who heeded Gordon B. Hinckley's 19989 council to save and get out of debt have been saved twice from economic hardship: in 2001 from the dot-com crash and the post-9/11 slowdown, and in 2008 from the Great Recession.

  • Lisa T PALO ALTO, CA
    July 7, 2011 6:29 p.m.

    DP--sounds like you are in classic LDS-fashion marginalizing the female gender by vaguely and inaccurately referring to "ERA around 1980." Just want to clarify that the date of the ERA that the church involved itself in was 1972.

  • TMR Los Angeles, CA
    July 7, 2011 8:28 p.m.

    Nice article, but one worthy example of a First Presidency statement not mentioned in the article is the 1981 Anti-MX Missile statement. This statement disturbed many of my conservative LDS friends. I recall listening to a long-time member of the seventy talk about how he struggled with the statement before finally coming to terms with the First Presidency's rationale. I also recall having lunch years after the issuance of the statement with a certain Congressman (R) from Utah (no longer in office) who openly aired his view that the First Presidency "got that one wrong."

  • amst plano, tx
    July 7, 2011 9:08 p.m.

    Um when the lord speaks we listen. When his servants say something if you have an issue with it ask yourself did I or did I not receive a wittiness that the church was true???

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    July 7, 2011 9:35 p.m.

    Mormoncowboy,

    Yes, I read the article.

    You said: How democratic - God expects you to forfeit you moral obligation of voting your conscience, and to instead participate in a block vote on Mormon politics. Can we really say that the Church endorses patriotic ideals with rhetoric like this??"

    Yes, Dr. Peterson pointed to three times when the Church took a position on an issue. Members were encouraged to vote that way (which is why the church takes a public position) but are not required to. I have known many members who disagreed with the Churchs stances on ERA, Prop 8, or immigration. From my observation, they still had their conscience and their bishops were largely unconcerned.

    Is it any different when the Catholic Church or any other denomination takes a public stance? In the case of faithful Catholics, this is particularly true because they view the pope as infallible regarding doctrine. Are they undemocratic or unpatriotic?

  • aka MOUNT PLEASANT, UT
    July 7, 2011 9:43 p.m.

    Dr. Peterson, did the church, as body, vote on Page 292, between the two official declarations ?

  • HollyR OREM, UT
    July 7, 2011 10:43 p.m.

    How about this: We have heard men who hold the priesthood remark that they would do anything they were told to do by those who presided over them [even] if they knew it was wrong: but such obedience as this is worse than folly to us; it is slavery in the extreme; and the man who would thus willingly degrade himself should not claim a rank among intelligent beings until he turns from his folly. --Joseph Smith from The Millenial Star, Saturday November 13, 1852

  • apache1 Phoenix, AZ
    July 8, 2011 12:46 a.m.

    The world is on the brink of economic ruin and things are getting worse not better, I am thankful for a Prophet who leads and guides us during this time of growing uncertainty and turmoil. The counsel is that this is a season not for panic but quiet and steady preparation and living the gospel, the unfolding of many huge natural disasters gives me solid assurance that the prophet is leading us in the right direction, the only question is will we have enough faith to follow?

  • Jared Gainesville, FL
    July 8, 2011 6:21 a.m.

    Re: HollyR - The quote you provided doesn't conflict with what Dr. Peterson wrote. Dr. Peterson wrote that we need to keep our eye on the President of the Church; that does not mean we blindly follow all those preside over us. Anyone in the church is free to not do what the prophet counsels; you can question it, disagree with it, and even disobey it. All Dr. Peterson wrote is that in the matters that the prophet speaks definitively on, we should really pay attention to them.

    In any case, if you read the context of the quote you see that it is about those who might try to exercise unrighteous dominion solely because of the Priesthood they've been given. It is referring to general Priesthood holders in the Church. You also have to keep in mind that there were a number of early Apostles who led people astray and people blindly followed them because they were Apostles. However, we know the Prophet never will do that so he is one person we should follow. We can still question him but we should be cautious in doing so.

  • PureGibberish ROOSEVELT, UT
    July 8, 2011 9:45 a.m.

    The LDS Church has consistently taught its members to have compassion on others, and not judge others. The statements on Prop 8 and immigration reform are on different sides of the political spectrum.

    With Prop 8, the liberal aspect of some members were tried. People, like myself, had to deeply question their testimonies because of this. I realized that, as an institution, the church had the right to tell its members what they felt was in the best interest of the church. They understood that there would be some ramifications of the statement. I decided that, even though some people were filled with hate toward both the LDS Church and toward those that had same-sex attraction, one could still have compassion and treat others as humans deserve to be treated- not heap judgements on them.

    The stance on immigration reform is now trying the conservative aspect of some members. It is my hope and belief that they will come to similar conclusions. Do not judge others' actions and group them all together, give them a label, and treat them with disrespect so you can feel better about yourself.

    Questioning, followed by seeking answers, strengthens one's core beliefs.

  • In Arizona Mesa, AZ
    July 8, 2011 11:08 a.m.

    To Denver, in Sandy UT: The President of the US would not preside over the Prophet in a General Conference setting. The Prophet would still be the highest Priesthood authority and would preside. However, if the President of the US asked the Prophet to do something for safety, security reasons, etc., then the Prophet would do so. But the President of the US attending General Conference, a member of the Church or not, has absolutely no Priesthood authority over the Prophet or anyone else!

  • Cat Centerville, UT
    July 8, 2011 12:51 p.m.

    I suppose you could say that one pair of earrings is encouraged. It's written very plainly in For Strength of Youth. As for prop 8 stuff. I can totally see why there was an issue. It was to protect religion and the right of religion to say no to individuals. There is a representative in NY that is saying that religions do not have the right to tell someone they can't be married in their church. I don't know about anyone else, but I can sure see where this idea could go.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 8, 2011 2:09 p.m.

    "There is a representative in NY that is saying that religions do not have the right to tell someone they can't be married in their church."

    Depends which their that statement refers to. Is it their as in the church that doesn't want to marry them, or their as in the same-sex couple's church that would marry them.

    The overwhelming majority of Americans, and groups like the ACLU and other civil liberties groups deemed to be "liberal" believe that churches have the right to refuse whatever marriages they want. Incidentally it is not an issue that has come up in any of these states that have gay marriage.

  • XelaDave Salem, UT
    July 8, 2011 2:47 p.m.

    Thank you Dan as always- also if you have been to the Temple you might want to re-think if you are supposed to be living the law of consecration- some here think not but think through those covenants you have made and ask yourself- as a full community no but as individuals?

  • @Charles the greater outdoors, UT
    July 8, 2011 8:33 p.m.

    In reading through the comments, it seems there are members of the LDS church who are looking for ways to excuse their personal views, beliefs and political stances when they are opposed to the doctrines of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

    I'm never seen so much dancing around the doctrines as revealed through the Lord's prophets.

    What many members don't realize is that revelation is a one-way street. It doesn't come from the members to the GA's or the Lord, it comes from the Lord to His chosen prophet and apostles and down to the members.

    I see so many basically trying to change the revelation pattern and in doing so excuse their philosophies when they go against the doctrines of the church.

    It's not really hard folks. Lucifer has already deceived 1/3 of the hosts of heaven and wants more.

    Read the scriptures AND the Gen Conf edition of the Ensign, pray daily, go to the temple, pay your tithing, do your VT/HT and be a good example to all.

    If ye love me, keep my commandments. The path is straight and narrow and few be there that find it.

  • srh83 Hillsboro, OR
    July 9, 2011 10:03 a.m.

    Excellent article! I too believe that following the prophet leads to safety, peace, and happiness.

  • Nosea Forest Grove, OR
    July 9, 2011 11:27 a.m.

    It is the same principle as honor your parents -- you obey them in righteousness only, but as when Lehi (both prophet and parent at the time) blamed the Lord for their afflictions in the deseret, Nephi did not listen and took an opposite course and built a new bow and arrow; his course was superior to that of his rank leader in the priesthood. I personally have been councelled wrongly by even Stake Presidents, have not followed such councel which was far from the teachings in the scriptures, and have now seen the greater blessings from not following such misguided councel, even when coming from a Stake President. Prophets, such as Lehi even, have frequently displayed the fallability as well, and it is up to each of us to determine when they truly are speaking by the spirit or as man with their individual opinion. This warrants caution, as we likewise will be held accountable if we get it wrong.

  • Feathertail CARY, NC
    July 10, 2011 2:41 p.m.

    Obedience may be "the first law of heaven." But Jesus taught that the first and great commandment is to love God, and the second is to love your neighbor.

    What is a faithful Latter-Day Saint supposed to do when obedience and love conflict with each other? What does "faithful" even mean in this case? Faithful to her leaders or faithful to her family and to her own conscience?

    These conflicts seem unreal to those who aren't experiencing them right now, and it's easy to give out the Primary answers. It's not so easy to tell your son to obey the prophet's teachings on homosexuality, when you know that it's making him miserable. And you know others in his position, who follow their hearts instead, who are happy.

    Why does following the prophet mean having to stop up your ears, blind your eyes, and harden your heart to the hurting of others?

  • Feathertail CARY, NC
    July 10, 2011 2:45 p.m.

    And why would God bless you for choosing the wrong?

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    July 10, 2011 6:51 p.m.

    Nosea,

    I follow you on the issue of obeying only in righteousness and you are wise to note that this warrants caution should we get it wrong.

    Do our leaders sometimes provide bad counsel? Perhaps.

    But overall, I think that we owe our leaders wide latitude and the assumption that they just might be right. It can be too easy when confronted with uncomfortable (but still correct) counsel to assume that the giver is wrong. Labeling the counsel as misguided may give us an unmerited free pass.

    When confronted with difficult counsel, our best bet is to assume it is correct and to begin asking ourselves what are likely to be some very tough questions.

    Feathertail

    In many cases and situations it can seem that those not living the commandments are happy. But this is different from being blessed by God and he does not bless us for choosing the wrong.

    I have never found that following the prophet means stopping our ears, blinding our eyes, or hardening our hearts to the hurt of others. Quite the opposite.

  • Kevin J. Kirkham Salt Lake City, UT
    July 10, 2011 11:29 p.m.

    Twin Lights - But overall, I think that we owe our leaders wide latitude and the assumption that they just might be right. It can be too easy when confronted with uncomfortable (but still correct) counsel to assume that the giver is wrong. Labeling the counsel as misguided may give us an unmerited free pass.

    When confronted with difficult counsel, our best bet is to assume it is correct and to begin asking ourselves what are likely to be some very tough questions.

    KJK - Excellent advice. Joseph Fielding Smith said that the tough question to ask was whether a teaching, no matter who gave it, complies with scripture. If it doesn't, we are to reject it. Here is what he said -
    "If Joseph Fielding Smith writes something which is out of harmony with the revelations, then every member of the Church is duty bound to reject it."
    Harold B. Lee and others said the same thing.

    Any counsel, like supporting Prop.8, which is contrary to scripture, must be rejected, even if it was given by the prophet himself, per Joseph Fielding Smith.

    Joseph Smith also condemned leaders who demand unquestioning obedience of their flock.

  • Owen Heber City, UT
    July 11, 2011 10:18 a.m.

    @charles

    "What many members don't realize is that revelation is a one-way street. It doesn't come from the members ..."

    Please read Joseph's descriptions of how revelation came. It was almost always a two-way street. "The brethren (or Emma) asked me and I asked the Lord and here's his answer." Some have counted as many of 75% of Joseph's revelations beginning with some variation of these words.

    The vast majority of revelation is not a bolt of lightening from heaven. It originates in the hearts of members who ask authorities questions who, in turn, ask the Lord on their behalf.

  • Mint Julip KAYSVILLE, UT
    July 11, 2011 9:30 p.m.

    I have a question. In LDS scripture it says:

    If anyone teaches other than "by the spirit of truth" he is not
    of God. D&C 50:17-18

    It is "contrary to the order of heaven" for a servant of God to
    deceive. D&C 129:7

    With these things in mind, how is it even possible for church leaders to counsel us in a way that is contrary to God? God cannot lie, and He has said his servants won't deceive us.

    I personally think that if one believes in the light of Christ they should place more weight on those feelings, since they are directly from God, than counsel from anyone claiming a more direct line of communication on their behalf.

  • Kevin J. Kirkham Salt Lake City, UT
    July 11, 2011 11:44 p.m.

    MJ - It is "contrary to the order of heaven" for a servant of God to
    deceive. D&C 129:7

    With these things in mind, how is it even possible for church leaders to counsel us in a way that is contrary to God? God cannot lie, and He has said his servants won't deceive us.

    KJK - D&C 129:7 deals with immortal beings, not mortal sinful men (which includes the prophet). The prophets have stated that we are to reject their words if their words are contrary to scripture. They therefore obviously feel that they can be in error (not lying, just mistaken).

    Harold B. Lee stated that the scriptures are the measuring sticks we are to use measure every man's doctrine. This includes the prophet.

  • LDS Revelations Sandy, UT
    March 25, 2014 11:49 a.m.

    To assume whatever Church leaders speak officially is true is to abdicate one's own conscience, morality and agency. LDS claim prophets are not infallible and The Church recently released essays citing instances where the leadership has made mistakes. So why would one ever NOT consider the merits of what is being said?

    Brigham Young said: "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 led by him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self security. Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not."

    Hugh B. Brown said: "Thoughts and expressions compete in the marketplace of thought, and in that competition truth emerges triumphant. Only error fears freedom of expression."

    Mormonism began with Joseph Smith questioning. Has the faith moved so far from those roots that a sincere discussion of ideas and their merits is no longer useful/allowed?