This past LDS General Conference once again provided members and non-members alike an opportunity to observe the teachings of Church leaders. As always, we are instructed to discern if a teacher and his/her message is from God, or not. If we choose wrongly, we are often captured by false spirits and kept asleep, further lulled and deceived by the philosophies of men mingled with scripture, which by hearkening to, will deceive the very elect in these last days.
Elder Haynie, of the first quorum of the seventy, shared one message in particular worth discussing. It’s important to note that since all General Conference talks are pre-approved by church correlation and are rehearsed at a podium so that all is perfectly timed and scripted, we must conclude that Church leadership was not only aware of what Elder Haynie would teach, but that they also endorsed the message as Church doctrine.
For any disagreeing with this point I would cite you to the example of Elder Poelman in 1984’s October General Conference, who, before the Church adopted the policy of pre-approving all talks, gave a message deemed to be false doctrine. The Brethren made him re-write and re-record it (with a cough track) to correct the error. Ironically, Elder Poelman got the doctrine right the first time when he taught that there is a difference between the church and the gospel.
The main message from Elder Haynie’s talk was that the living prophet is always more important than the dead ones. This is nothing new or shocking for those acquainted with Mormonism. Brigham Young and most Church leaders since, have all become quite comfortable emphasizing how the living oracles are better than the dead ones.
Elder Benson’s talk entitled the Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet, which was denounced by then President Spencer W. Kimball, has since nonetheless become the established doctrine of the LDS Church. The talk includes the following teachings, many of which which were deemed by Kimball to be false and damnable ideas:
1) The prophet is the only man who speaks for the Lord in everything.
2) The living prophet is more vital to us than the standard works.
3) The living prophet is more important to us than a dead prophet.
4) The prophet will never lead the church astray.
5) The prophet is not required to have any particular earthly training or credentials to speak on any subject or act in any matter in any time.
6) The prophet does not have to say “Thus Saith the Lord” to give us scripture.
7) The prophet tells us what we need to know, not always what we want to know.
8) The prophet is not limited by men’s reasoning.
9) The prophet can receive revelation on any matter — temporal or spiritual.
10) The prophet may be involved in civic matters.
11) The two groups who have the greatest difficulty in following the prophet are the proud who are learned and the proud who are rich.
12) The prophet will not necessarily be popular with the world or the worldly.
13) The prophet and his counselors make up the First Presidency–the highest quorum in the Church.
14) The prophet and the presidency – the living prophet and the First Presidency – follow them and be blessed; reject them and suffer. (Source)
Interestingly, the Church leaders of Jesus’ day were criticized by the Lord for revering the dead prophets (whom their fathers had killed) while rejecting and stoning the living prophets sent among them.
Today the Church has the opposite tradition. It rejects (according to Elder Haynie, Elder Benson, Brigham Young et al.) any and all dead prophets in favor of their living “prophets,” whether they actually be true or not. In other words, they stone the dead prophets and declare any potential living prophet coming among them, who is not the president of the Church, as false.
Ultimately, the problem is the same of course — church leaders of both the former and the latter day churches simply could not and cannot discern true from false messengers and assume that because they carry the titles of prophets, seers, and revelators (Pharisees, Sadducees, Priests), that God has given His power to them and even He cannot now take it away. The Great Jehovah is bound, they proclaim, and must follow their Order.
It begins to feel a lot like John the Baptist “wresting the authority” from the The Church of Jesus Christ of Moses’-day Saints… and they knew it not, because all they knew was that they had authority and they had the keys (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 276).
In his talk, Elder Haynie declares and reiterates the Church’s official position that in fact, “unlike vintage comic books and classic cars, prophetic teachings do not become more valuable with age.” Elder Haynie goes on to say that “we should not seek to use the words of past prophets to dismiss the teachings of the living prophets.”
Now, I realize that Elder Haynie is most likely emphasizing the need for this principle to be especially applied to more modern day church leaders who are known for varying in teachings from one presidency and one church era to the next. For example, if and when the words of Brigham Young seem to no longer be true or applicable, we must defer to Russell Nelson for clarification. For “inspired updates and revelatory adjustments.” In their view, I’m sure, sadly, the same would apply to Joseph Smith and they would choose Russell over Joseph.
But the further implication is that when Isaiah or Moses or Malachi or Nephi or Adam and Moroni (i.e. the Lord) have taught a doctrine in Scripture, it is a) likely less valuable because it is vintage and out of date and b) is never to be used as a standard for truth in place of the words of Russell Marion Nelson, the 97 year old safe and effective prophet.
The pattern set forth by the Lord and employed through the true and holy prophets who are His seed is quite different than what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has set forth as its doctrine.
We need to decide which of these teachings is true doctrine if we are to survive the coming day of judgment. Again, if we choose wrongly, we will be damned and we will perish.
Here’s the Lord’s Pattern
When the Lord appeared to the young boy Joseph, He quoted Malachi, Isaiah, and Jeremiah when He could have simply said, “Thus saith the Lord unto you this day…” The Lord instead chose to quote vintage and classic prophets from, in some cases, more than 2,000 years prior.
When He walked with His disciples on the road to Emmaus, He opened and expounded the scriptures unto them from the beginning and their hearts burned within them (Read more here about this pattern).
Could you imagine going forward 2,000 years and the Lord appearing unto some obscure soon to be prophet declaring, “Let me now share the parable of the pickle from my servant Elder David Bednar” or “the parable of the proper way to crush plastic water bottles from my beloved servant Allen.” Or “How great are the words of Spencer (not be be confused with Visions of Glory Spencer)…”?
Not likely… the LDS Church of the year 2030 won’t likely share the teachings of Russell Nelson, and so why would the Lord share them in the future?
And so what does this tell us?
The Lord instructed Lehi to send his sons to retrieve the Brass Plates so that they would have the words of very old prophets, likely dating back many centuries to Joseph, who was sold into Egypt in about 1910 B.C., and who was Lehi’s ancestor also with ties to Egypt, hence the likely reason the record was etched using hieroglyphs. And hence the reason that Lehi, who would have studied those records previously, knew “the language” of his fathers. Ultimately the record goes back to the beginning of time, to the Ancient of Days, our parents Adam and Eve. Vintage indeed.
And behold, it is wisdom in God that we should obtain these records that we may preserve unto our children the language of our fathers, and also that we may preserve unto them the words which have been spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets, which have been delivered unto them by the spirit and power of God since the world began, even down unto this present time. And it came to pass that after this manner of language did I persuade my brethren that they might be faithful in keeping the commandments of God. 1 Ne. 1:12
If living prophets were so important to Lehi, then why not just write new scriptures as they went? Nephi, Jacob, Enos, Alma, Mosiah and all the way up to Moroni, could have just given awesome talks and told cool stories and that could have been their canon. Instead of endlessly quoting Isaiah and the Brass Plates (Zenos, Zenock, etc…) and risking their lives to get the old worn out comic books from Laban’s treasury when they already had their own Liahona and eventually their own seer stones.
On the contrary, we are taught that IF Nephi had not successfully retrieved the record found on the Brass Plates, his new nation would have perished in unbelief just as the people of Zarahemla (the Mulekites) who had brought no records with them, and who had left Jerusalem at about the same time as Lehi. Omni 1:5
The hubris today among us is now beyond the pale. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-days Saints has fully embraced a doctrine that transforms their “prophet” beyond the Holy Scriptures into a deity who need only speak, and his words are true and will override anything the Lord has ever said through anyone else since the beginning of time. They reject the prophets (as needed) from Adam to Abraham to Moses to Lehi to Joseph, in favor of last days’ word salad prophets who at best give lip service to sacred words they do not understand and cannot teach.
There’s at least one quick way to discern whether a prophet is true or false. It’s laid out in the scriptures and it’s the reason Nephi is often frustrated with his brothers and others.
Wherefore hearken, O my people which are of the house of Israel, and give ear unto my words, for because the words of Isaiah are not plain unto you, nevertheless, they are plain unto all those that are filled with the spirit of prophecy. 2 Ne. 11:1
And the Lord follows up with the commandment:
And now behold, I say unto you that ye had ought to search these things. Yea, a commandment I give unto you that ye search these things diligently, for great are the words of Isaiah. For surely he spake as touching all things concerning my people which are of the house of Israel. Therefore, it must needs be that he must speak also to the gentiles. And all things that he spake hath been and shall be, even according to the words which he spake. Therefore, give heed to my words. Write the things which I have told you, and, according to the time and the will of the Father, they shall go forth unto the gentiles. And whosoever will hearken unto my words, and repenteth and is baptized, the same shall be saved. Search the prophets, for many there be that testify of these things. RE 3 Ne. 10:4
And so, if a prophet be true, he will search diligently, teach profoundly, and understand fully, the words of Isaiah (for starters), because he/she has the spirit of prophecy. If a “prophet” cannot prophesy and does not have the spirit of prophecy, then he/she is not and cannot be a prophet. Lest God be a liar and a trifler of souls. Which He is not.
I’ve waited a month or so to post on this to see how this teaching would go over with church members generally. I’m saddened and disappointed that no correction was made by the Church and that no member of the Church even seems slightly bothered by this damnable false doctrine yet again so carelessly preached.
The truth is, vintage prophets ARE akin to comic books, old coins, fine wine, Harley Davidsons and baseball cards — AND their words get better and better with time AND will be vindicated, no matter how old. In fact, their words are better than the aforementioned vintage items and will actually endure forever. Because TRUE prophets speak the words of the Lord, who IS Endless and Eternal.
Vintage Prophets of old saw our day and they wondered why the leaders of the Lord’s once Holy Church have now polluted it and “transfigured the holy word of God.” Morm. 4:5
Jeremiah saw those who would be cursed for putting their trust in man (i.e. church leaders) and who would inhabit a “Salt Land” (aka SLC):
Thus says the Lord: Cursed be the man that trusts in man and makes flesh his arm, and whose heart departs from the Lord. For he shall be like the bush in the desert and shall not see when good comes, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusts in the Lord and whose hope the Lord is, for he shall be as a tree planted by the waters and that spreads out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat comes, but her leaf shall be green and shall not be anxious in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. Jer. 6:12
Long ago, the Lord spoke through Isaiah and told him:
Now go, write it before them upon plates and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come, for ever and ever — that this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord, who say to the seers, See not — and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits, get out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us. Wherefore, thus says the Holy One of Israel: Because you despise this word, and trust in oppression and perverseness, and rely thereon, therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking comes suddenly, at an instant. And he shall break it as the breaking of the potter’s vessel that is broken in pieces, he shall not spare, so that there shall not be found in the bursting of it a shard to take fire from the hearth, or to take water out of the pit. For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: In returning and rest shall you be saved, in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength, and you would not. But you said, No, for we will flee upon horses — therefore shall you flee. And, We will ride upon the swift — therefore shall they that pursue you be swift. One thousand shall flee at the rebuke of one; at the rebuke of five shall you flee, until you are left as a beacon upon the top of a mountain, and as an ensign on a hill. Isa. 9:9
…and He told Ezekiel…
And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say unto them, Thus says the Lord God unto the shepherds: Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves. Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? You eat the fat and you clothe yourself with the wool. You kill them that are fed, but you feed not the flock. The diseased have you not strengthened, neither have you healed that which was sick, neither have you bound up that which was broken, neither have you brought again that which was driven away, neither have you sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have you ruled them. And they were scattered because there is no shepherd, and they became food to all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains and upon every high hill, yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them.
Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord. As I live, says the Lord God, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became food to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves and fed not my flock, therefore, O you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves anymore, for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be food for them. Ezek. 17:5,6
Sadly, these words and others like them are never expounded by today’s church leaders in any setting and no one dare ever apply them to ourselves. Instead they write endless autobiographies and they tell endless stories about airplanes and pickles and pigeons and field fires and olympic races and they get weepy in speaking about their missions to Japan–mingled with a scant scripture reference from time to time. But they do not understand nor do they teach nor do they expound the scriptures. Period.
These men today set themselves up as lights to the world and quote themselves endlessly… until they are dead and gone and their teachings are dead and gone with them. Then the next company moves on to the next “prophet” ready to discard everything they once held onto so dearly, and so recently.
Change is the new constant and the new disciple’s reward. Change proves God is speaking through them. Change is what keeps everyone invigorated and engaged.
Ancient, true prophets, however, warned us long ago of a time now fast approaching when we the Lord will put an end to nations and to kingdoms and to our horses and our chariots and to our flocks and husbandmen Jer. 18:14. And to false prophets Jer. 6:3. When our cities will be laid to waste Ezek. 4:5. When we are swept from this continent, because we no longer serve Jesus Christ Eth. 1:7. When anyone not willing to pick up the sword against his neighbor must flee to Zion for safety T&C 31:15.
Their words WILL BE vindicated and so we may want to start searching and pondering them instead of the words of the comical men of our day, who see not and who hear not and who, to their own condemnation, are denied access to the greater things 3 Ne. 12:1.
I for one, must do better. And the Church should be ashamed that members and leaders alike no longer care or notice when such errors are taught as doctrine.