Don’t reject current prophets in favor of dead prophets

Some people concerned about the Church’s policies on same-sex marriage have dug up a quotation from more than a century ago that seems to them to contradict the Church’s current policies.

I will not detail that quotation here because it is irrelevant. Why is it irrelevant?

As President of the Twelve Apostles, Ezra Taft Benson warned: “Beware of those who would set up the dead prophets against the living prophets, for the living prophets always take precedence.” (Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet, 1980)

Elder Dallin H. Oaks explained further: “…the most important difference between dead prophets and living ones is that those who are dead are not here to receive and declare the Lord’s latest words to his people. If they were, there would be no differences among the messages of the prophets.” (Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall, 1992)

The two above quotations were taken from an excellent post by M*’s own Jon Max Wilson on his personal blog. Go read it for further clarification.

In the meantime, don’t let yourself be led astray by people who reject today’s prophets. Today’s prophets are the only ones authorized to declare the word of God to you in 2015.

Justice, Love, and Mercy Meet

I’ve taken a few days without writing (much) on the new policy changes regarding same-sex marriage and children raised in same-sex households. First, because I wanted to wait for an official church statement before offering supposition (and then was just too busy afterward). Second, because I know that many people are hurting as a result of the changes, and I don’t want to add to their pain in any way. Continue reading

Evil speaking

When pondering the Church’s recent handbook changes on same-sex marriage, the thing that has made me most distraught has been the public reaction of so many of our brothers and sisters. Modern-day prophets have outlined in hundreds of recent talks how the primary test of our generation will be whether people can follow Church leadership even when it is difficult. How quickly people seem to forget!

Elder Christofferson has made it abundantly clear that the Church’s recent changes in the handbook of instructions are inspired Church policy and in line with the Savior’s teachings.

Regarding the issue of same-sex relationships, Elder Christofferson said:

We’re not going to yield on our efforts to help people find what brings happiness, but we know sin does not. And so we’re going to stand firm there because we don’t want to mislead people. There’s no kindness in misdirecting people and leading them into any misunderstanding about what is true, what is right, what is wrong, what leads to Christ and what leads away from Christ.

If you read many Mormon blogs and other comments on social media these days, it is clear that many people are very quick to question the prophets. In fact, I have read a lot of unfortunate criticism of the prophets from people who should know better. Many of these people have gone through the endowment ceremony and made a covenant to avoid “evil speaking of the Lord’s anointed.” I daresay some of these people are breaking their covenant. I would like to bring to their attention a talk from Elder Oaks that directly addresses this issue. There have been many attempts to prooftext the meaning of the phrase “evil speaking of the Lord’s anointed.” These attempts to minimize the importance of this covenant get it exactly wrong. Elder Oaks makes is clear:

“Criticism is particularly objectionable when it is directed toward Church authorities, general or local. Jude condemns those who ‘speak evil of dignities.’ (Jude 1:8.) Evil speaking of the Lord’s anointed is in a class by itself. It is one thing to depreciate a person who exercises corporate power or even government power. It is quite another thing to criticize or depreciate a person for the performance of an office to which he or she has been called of God. It does not matter that the criticism is true. As Elder George F. Richards, President of the Council of the Twelve, said in a conference address in April 1947,

“‘When we say anything bad about the leaders of the Church, whether true or false, we tend to impair their influence and their usefulness and are thus working against the Lord and his cause.’ (In Conference Report, Apr. 1947, p. 24.)” (Address to Church Educational System teachers, Aug. 16, 1985.)

Continue reading

A helpful template for progressive Mormons to help them respond to the latest news

This is a guest post by Huston.

It’s tough out there for a progressive Mormon these days. Reacting with horrified indignation on the Internet to current events has nearly become a full-time job! It’s almost enough to make one re-examine one’s passionately believed liberal assumptions. Almost.

But before you do something drastic like that, here’s how to deal with the exhaustion of always needing to rant online. After all, there are only so many synonyms for “sad” that you can dredge up in the service of your public moral vanity.

Just use this easy, user-friendly template for your next angry tirade against the LDS Church. It’ll even work for those trendy new rants that poorly veil their murmuring under the guise of being diplomatically disappointed.

Here it is:

I am (outraged / shocked / depressed) by the recent event in the LDS Church that everyone’s talking about. It (sickens / offends / discourages) my sensitive and compassionate conscience. Once again our leaders have shown themselves to be (out of touch / tone deaf / afraid of change / consistently faithful to their calling).
Continue reading

Zion and the Tree of Life in the Latter Days

I joined the Church in 1975. Back then, much of what was going on in the world and believed by the world matched my new LDS views.  There were issues regarding the new sexuality that pushed against the Church’s stance on chastity, however. Still, most things were kosher between the world and church.

40 years later, we see huge divisions between the world and Church. The chasm between the two have grown large enough that many believers are being forced off the fence. Continue reading