I’ve been told by several people and apologists that members of the LDS Church should not consider every word a prophet says as being from God. They insist that prophets are not perfect and will speak their opinion on occasion. I could not agree more. However, members do get the perception that a prophet always speaks for God when listening to leaders of the Mormon faith. I was reminded of why so many LDS members think the prophet is as close to perfection as a mortal can be when I read the following post (you can comment on the authors blog here.) I’ve added the bold to show emphasis.
I came across a beautiful talk last night written by President Ezra T. Benson. Its title is “Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet,” and it was delivered in February of 1980 at BYU. I would highly recommend reading the full talk. It is not very long, and is concise and easy to read. Here’s a teaser to what he spoke about:
- The prophet is the only man who speaks for the Lord in everything.
- The living prophet is more vital to us than the standard works.
- The living prophet is more important to us than a dead prophet.
- The prophet will never lead the church astray.
- 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.
- The prophet does not have to say “Thus Saith the Lord,” to give us scripture.
- The prophet tells us what we need to know, not always what we want to know.
- The prophet is not limited by men’s reasoning.
- The prophet can receive revelation on any matter, temporal or spiritual.
- The prophet may advise on civic matters.
- The two groups who have the greatest difficulty in following the prophet are the proud who are learned and the proud who are rich.
- The prophet will not necessarily be popular with the world or the worldly.
- The prophet and his counselors make up the First Presidency – the highest quorum in the church.
- The prophet and the presidency – the living prophet and the First Presidency – follow them and be blessed – reject them and suffer.
After reading that I would be very hesitant to ever disagree with anything the prophet has said. The problem is that the prophet is not perfect and does say things that are false on occasion because he is influenced by his own biases. It would be wise for every member of the LDS faith to decide for themselves if what has been said is from God, just good advise or not true. I don’t think the talk cited in the above post is an isolated one. It would not be hard to find several talks that would support what President Benson said. It is dangerous for members to have such a high standard for what a prophet is because when faced with the history of the LDS faith that view becomes severely challenged. This causes many to not only leave the Church, but also to engage in what most consider as anti-Mormon tactics to expose what they believe is untruth.