Rejecting the Living Prophets by Following Future Prophets

[Cross posted from Sixteen Small Stones]

kept-my-cupOne of the key doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that we have living prophets and apostles today who are authorized by God to receive revelations for the church and for the world. The scriptures are full of stories of how the people of the church rejected the messages of the living prophets, often justifying themselves by appealing to the words of previous prophets. Even Jesus was rejected by appealing to Moses or Abraham.

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)

I’ve noticed a troubling parallel among some progressive members of the church: Rejecting living prophets in favor of what they anticipate future prophets will do*. Continue reading

I Was Constrained By The Spirit That I Should Vote For…

[Cross Posted from Sixteen Small Stones]

One of the important aspects of the LDS doctrine of personal revelation is that the Holy Spirit can and does sometimes instruct individuals to act contrary to our own reason and understanding.

So here is a little supposal:

Think of a presidential candidate that you do not support.  Now put the candidate’s name into the appropriate places in the following passage:

And it came to pass that I was constrained by the Spirit that I should support [a specific candidate] for President; but I said in my heart: Never at any time have I supported a [candidate of that ideology/party/record]. And I shrunk and would that I might not support [her/him].

And the Spirit said unto me again: Behold it is the Lord’s desire that [that candidate] be President of the United States…

We spend a lot of time debating and defending our political beliefs, and comparing political candidates to our ideals. But what if, regardless of political party, or ideology, or record, or aptitude, or personality, or anything else we might use to judge our candidates, the Lord for His own reasons wants you to support a candidate different than the one you would choose?

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Discussion: Revelation vs. The Philosophies of Men

In my post on The Case for Christ one of the commenters (David) made a comment that raised concerns from another commenter (SmallAxe). David quoted a number of scriptures that suggest that human wisdom does not compare to God’s wisdom. Then he said:

We should not easily give up our convictions, especially when we have a personal witness that these ideas have God as their source. The “philosophies of men” can’t compare with the wisdom of God. We simply should not allow them to in our minds. If we let our own intellect prevail over what we have come to know by the Spirit, we are letting our natural man becoming an obstacle to our reception of God’s wisdom, which is infinitely greater than our own (or any man’s).

This statement then led to a substantial sub-thread in the comments, mostly between myself and SmallAxe. This is obviously a point SmallAxe has great passion for. I, perhaps, have half a notch less passion for it, but obviously I care about it a great deal as well.

If I might attempt to summarize SmallAxe’s position, as best that I can. (Bear in mind that I am biased and he will ultimately speak for himself.) I think it is as follows:

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