William Schryver wrote:
This statement (let's call it "Exhibit A"--for "apostasy") illustrates, better than anything I could ever say, the fallacy underlying what I believe is probably the single most common cause of apostasy: a fundamental misunderstanding of the meaning of the terms "prophet, seer, and revelator" and their effective function within the context of the Church of Jesus Christ.
I know what is coming. The apologist redefining what it means to be a prophet. seer and revelator. So let us call this exhibit A for what one might call the apologist two step. You see, nobody really understands things like the self proclaimed defender of the faith. And keep in mind that what Will is going to do is enlighten us all, including almost all the active TBMs who sit in the pews every Sunday. If Rollo really did/does misunderstand what the role of a prophet is then so do most active members. And I know this all to well because I used to do it.
Rollo has provided for us a perfect example of what I have frequently characterized as the "fundamentalist mindset" that facilitates apostasy.
Now Will starts to poison the well by labeling the idea that the title prophet and apostle really does mean something special is some antiquated back woods "fundamentalist approach to things. Will wants to paint a view held commonly by Church members as something only the extreme conservative fringe might believe.
In the mind of the adherent to this "fundamentalist" view, a prophet becomes the effective equivalent of the all-knowing, all-seeing god; a man more than a man; an omniscient supermind who can not only peer straight into the depths of one's soul and discern even the faintest hint of wickedness, but who is (as it were) constantly wearing a headset (like football coaches on the sideline during a game) through which means he is in virtually constant and intimate contact with "the Man upstairs." Thus, every utterance by the superman prophet is the equivalent of God speaking; his every thought encompasses all human history and endeavor; he is above all; he has conquered all human frailty and his daily walk consists of a constant stroll through the nexus of nirvanic omniscience.
Of course this is really not what Rollo thinks nor even those who think that apostles and prophets are supposed to have gifts beyond perhaps the average believer. And if they believe this whose fault it is? Why it is those who claim the be prophets, seers and revelators. They are the ones who tell us to listen to the prophets in ALL things, that use anecdotes about a young man breaking off dating a girl that had two earrings because she may not follow the prophets in ALL things, that the prophets will never lead us astray, that if we follow a prophet that tells us something wrong we still will have it counted to us for righteousness, that we should always follow the brethren, that conference talks are scriptures, that the prophets speaks for God in all things and they can speak out about anything they want and on and on and on, that their words are the same as the words of Christ-you know that verse that says whether by my own voice or the voice of my servants it is the same.
So yes, members do believe that the prophets, seers and revelators ought to be in tune with something like knowing someone is out to destroy the Church. I mean if Peter knew two early Christians were holding back some of their temporal means and lying about it, which lie earned them death, it is not unreasonable to assume that at least ONE of the five prophets, seers and revelators would have been on to Hoffman.
Personally I never held them being duped against them. But I can see why some might. And it is because what these men teach members about themselves. Not because some foolish self proclaimed defender of the faith wants to paint those who believe what these men teach about themselves is truth.
Will is really the one out of step with what the brethren teach about what an prophet is.
Those who lean to such beliefs are, at root, averse to the very notion of free agency. The have, in effect, concluded that Lucifer's pre-mortal objections to the Plan of Salvation were soundly based. They do not want to be burdened by the responsibility of weighing various alternatives and making decisions for themselves. They therefore abdicate their own agency and instead place upon the shoulders of their bishop, or stake president, or a general authority, or "the prophet," the responsibility to guide them. They trust that the power of "the prophet" is such that, under his ever-reliable direction and super-powers of discernment, "not one soul shall be lost." Thus, in their own twisted minds, they artificially convert the role of the prophet into the equivalent of Lucifer himself.
Then the LDS leaders teach to abdicate free agency:
From the most recent conference:
President Eyring Sunday AM:
I know the servants of God who will speak to you during this conference. They are called of God to give messages to His children. The Lord has said of them: “What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.”12
You show your trust in Him when you listen with the intent to learn and repent and then you go and do whatever He asks. If you trust God enough to listen for His message in every sermon, song, and prayer in this conference, you will find it. And if you then go and do what He would have you do, your power to trust Him will grow, and in time you will be overwhelmed with gratitude to find that He has come to trust you.
Elder Kevin R. Duncan
Of the Seventy
May we have the wisdom to trust in and follow the counsel of the living prophets and apostles.
Surely one of the crowning blessings of membership in this Church is the blessing of being led by living prophets of God. The Lord declared, “There is never but one on the earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of this priesthood are conferred.”4 The prophet and President of the Church today, Thomas S. Monson, receives God’s word for the entire membership of the Church and for the world. In addition, we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators the counselors in the First Presidency and the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
With frozen feet and a barren wasteland, those early Saints surely needed faith to trust their prophet. Their very survival and lives were at stake. Yet the Lord rewarded their obedience and blessed and prospered those who followed His mouthpiece.
And the Lord does the same today for you and me. This world is full of so many self-help books, so many self-proclaimed experts, so many theorists, educators, and philosophers who have advice and counsel to give on any and all subjects. With technology today, information on a myriad of subjects is available with the click of a keystroke. It is easy to get caught in the trap of looking to the “arm of flesh”5 for advice on everything from how to raise children to how to find happiness. While some information has merit, as members of the Church we have access to the source of pure truth, even God Himself. We would do well to search out answers to our problems and questions by investigating what the Lord has revealed through His prophets. With that same technology today, we have at our fingertips access to the words of the prophets on nearly any subject. What has God taught us about marriage and the family through His prophets? What has He taught us about education and provident living through His prophets? What has He taught us about personal happiness and fulfillment through His prophets?
What the prophets teach may to some seem outdated, unpopular, or even impossible. But God is a God of order and has established a system whereby we may know His will. “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.”6 At the opening of this, the dispensation of the fulness of times, the Lord reaffirmed that He would communicate with us through His prophets. He stated, “My word . . . shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.”7
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. He described what he called “Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet.” In the session this morning, Elder Claudio Costa of the Presidency of the Seventy so eloquently instructed us on these 14 fundamentals. Because they are of such great importance to our very salvation, I will repeat them again.
“First: The prophet is the only man who speaks for the Lord in everything.
“Second: The living prophet is more vital to us than the standard works.
“Third: The living prophet is more important to us than a dead prophet.
“Fourth: The prophet will never lead the Church astray.
“Fifth: 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.
“Sixth: The prophet does not have to say ‘Thus saith the Lord’ to give us scripture.
“Seventh: The prophet tells us what we need to know, not always what we want to know.
“Eighth: The prophet is not limited by men’s reasoning.
“Ninth: The prophet can receive revelation on any matter, temporal or spiritual.
“Tenth: The prophet may be involved in civic matters.
“Eleventh: The two groups who have the greatest difficulty in following the prophet are the proud who are learned and the proud who are rich.
“Twelfth: The prophet will not necessarily be popular with the world or the worldly.
“Thirteenth: The prophet and his counselors make up the First Presidency—the highest quorum in the Church.
“Fourteenth: [Follow] . . . the living prophet and the First Presidency . . . and be blessed; reject them and suffer.”8
Brothers and sisters, like the Saints of 1848, 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. I am a witness of their goodness. I testify that they are called of God. I also testify that there is no safer way to approach life, find answers to our problems, gain peace and happiness in this world, and protect our very salvation than by obeying their words. I bear this witness in the sacred name of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.
José A. Teixeira
Those who follow the prophets receive the blessings God has promised. We can always trust the living prophets; their teachings reflect the word and will of the Lord. “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.”13 The lyrics of a Primary song admonish us to: Follow the prophet, Follow the prophet; don’t go astray.
M. Russell Ballard
In other words, his pride and stubbornness were keeping him from receiving the Lord’s blessing through His prophet. If you will listen to the living prophet and the apostles and heed our counsel, you will not go astray.
Ensign > May 2001
No wonder they are very soon given cause for disappointment when "the prophet" fails to measure up to the standards and expectations they (the prospective apostates) have imposed upon him.
Wrong. To the standards and expectations the prophets create for themselves.
On countless occasions, I have seen someone post a copy of the photo to which Rollo refers above as evidence of the fact that "the prophet" is a fraud. Well, yes, according to the definition of "prophet" to which Rollo and his kind subscribe, there has never been nor could there ever be any such man. It would be entirely contrary to the economy of God and His plan of salvation for mankind for such a man to ever exist.
According to the definition the prophets teach to the saints.
Seems like Peter and Paul had this gift. Seems like other OT prophets did. Nathan knew about David, Samuel about Saul.
In any event, I have no doubt the concept is lost on Rollo and the other denizens of The Great and Spacious Trailer Park©.
Too bad Will you don't speak for the Church. The Prophets and apostles do.
* View in English
Prophets of God
“Chapter 9: Prophets of God,” Gospel Principles, 47
“Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7).
Many people live in darkness, unsure of God’s will. They believe that the heavens are closed and that people must face the world’s perils alone. How fortunate are the Latter-day Saints! We know that God communicates to the Church through his prophet. With grateful hearts, Saints the world over sing the hymn, “We thank thee, O God, for a prophet to guide us in these latter days.”
What Is a Prophet?
A prophet is a man called by God to be his representative on earth. When a prophet speaks for God, it is as if God were speaking. A prophet is also a special witness for Christ, testifying of His divinity and teaching His gospel. A prophet teaches truth and interprets the word of God. He calls the unrighteous to repentance. He receives revelations and directions from the Lord for our benefit. He may see into the future and foretell coming events so that the world may be warned.
A prophet may come from various stations in life. He may be young or old, highly educated or unschooled. He may be a farmer, a lawyer, or a teacher. Ancient prophets wore tunics and carried staffs. Modern prophets wear suits and carry briefcases. What, then, identifies a true prophet? A true prophet is always chosen by God and called through proper priesthood authority.
Latter-day Saints sustain the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles as prophets. However, when we speak of “the prophet of the Church,” we mean the President of the Church, who is President of the high priesthood.
• What is a prophet?
• What powers and gifts does he have?
• What does he do?
• What office does he hold in the Church?
Through the Ages God Has Called Prophets to Lead Mankind
There have been prophets on the earth since the days of Adam. Experiences of these great men excite and inspire us. Moses, an Old Testament prophet, led thousands of his people out of Egypt and slavery into the promised land. He wrote the first five books of the Old Testament and recorded the Ten Commandments. Nephi, a Book of Mormon prophet, sailed from Jerusalem to the American continent about six hundred years before the birth of Christ. This great leader and colonizer gave us many important writings in the Book of Mormon. John the Baptist was chosen to prepare the world for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Through Joseph Smith, a latter-day prophet, the Lord restored the Church. Joseph Smith also translated the Book of Mormon while a young man.
We Have a Living Prophet on the Earth Today
We have a prophet living on the earth today. This prophet is the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He has the right to revelation for the entire Church. He holds the “keys of the kingdom,” meaning that he has the right to control the administration of the ordinances (see Matthew 16:19). No person except the chosen prophet and president can receive God’s will for the membership of the Church.
We should do those things the prophets tell us to do. President Wilford Woodruff said that a prophet will never be allowed to lead the Church astray:
“I say to Israel, the Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as president of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the program. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so he will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty. God bless you” (Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, pp. 212–13; see also Official Declaration 1).
• Ask class members to name as many prophets as they can.
• Who is the prophet who directs the Church today? Have a class member tell about the living prophet.
We Should Sustain the Lord’s Prophet
Many people find it easy to believe in the prophets of the past. But it is much greater to believe in and follow the living prophet. We raise our hands to sustain the President of the Church as prophet, seer, and revelator.
How can we sustain the prophet? We should pray for him. His burdens are heavy, and he needs to be strengthened by the prayers of the Saints.
We should study his words. We can listen to his conference addresses or read them in Church publications.
We should follow his inspired teachings completely. We should not choose to follow part of his inspired counsel and discard that which is unpleasant or difficult. The Lord commanded us to follow the inspired teachings of his prophet:
“Thou shalt give heed unto all his [the prophet’s] words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me;
“For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith” (D&C 21:4–5).
The Lord will never allow the President of the Church to lead us astray.
• Discuss what we can do to follow and sustain the prophet.
• Where can we learn of his counsel today?
Great Blessings Follow Obedience to the Prophet
If we obey, the Lord promises, “The gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you; and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory” (D&C 21:6).
When we do as our prophet directs, blessings pour down from heaven. A story from the life of Lorenzo Snow, the fifth president of the restored Church, shows how God rewards his people for their obedience. In those days the Church was suffering great financial trouble and had little money to pay its debts. Then more trouble came. A great drought afflicted many of the Saints. President Snow went to the Lord and prayed for relief. One day as the prophet was speaking in the St. George Tabernacle in Utah, the Holy Ghost inspired him to promise the Saints that they would receive rain if they would pay a full tithe. He quoted Malachi: “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, … and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10). The people obeyed their prophet, and the rains fell on the parched crops.
In order to stand, the true Church must be built upon the foundation of prophets (see Ephesians 2:20). We are blessed in this insecure world to have a prophet through whom the Lord reveals his will.
• Have someone share an experience in which obedience to the counsel of the prophet was a blessing.
• Numbers 12:6 (God speaks through prophets)
• 1 Samuel 9:9 (prophet called a seer)
• Luke 1:70 (God speaks through prophets)
• D&C 45:10, 15 (God speaks today as in days of old)
• 1 Nephi 22:2 (by the Spirit things are made known to prophets)
• D&C 68:3–5 (when the Lord’s servants speak as moved by the Holy Ghost, it is the mind, will, and voice of the Lord)
• D&C 107:65–67, 91–92 (duties of the President of the Church)
• D&C 43:1–7 (only the prophet is authorized to receive revelations for the Church)