(Guest writer, Brian Roberts)
In the 1800’s the early Mormons hung on every word their prophets spoke. For they believed that salvation was found nowhere else except the church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints. Bruce R. McCconkie said it best in his book Mormon doctrine he said, “If it had not been for Joseph Smith and the restoration, there would be no salvation. There is no salvation outside the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints” (pg.670) of Mormon doctrine. So you would think that those that belong to such an organization would hold fast to its prophets teachings right? Guess again.
The LDS church has held to many strong doctrines in the past. Doctrines such as polygamy, the rejection of blacks receiving the priesthood, and many others. But if their Prophets spoke on these issues, and declared them as eternal, then why aren’t they? Why the shift in their position? Why have we seen such an enormous shift now, in the 21st Century? The question you should be asking is “why has the modern day church rejected so much of their founders words?” Weren’t these men the prophets of God and spoke for God, right? Wasn’t what the spoke as if God had spoken?
How often do you here testimonies that say “I like to bear my testimony, I know this church is true. I know that Joseph smith was a true prophet”, it’s very interesting to note however, that this statement that fills the mouth of millions of Mormons couldn’t be further from the truth. Is Joseph smith really a true prophet? I mean lets be real, he was a boy who had an encounter with God Himself telling him to not join any of the so called sects of religion in his day. He was told all were corrupt, and taught the commandments of men. He was even told all of the professors of religion were in error, and no institution outside of the LDS faith had any saving ability. So you would think that all that was told to the prophet was true, and that the doctrines he claimed were eternal truths. Think about it! If this was true, then Joseph Smith, and all those who followed his succession would have a direct line to God, and be the only ones on the planet that possessed truth.
In essence all religion belonging to Christianity beginning after the Apostle John died was corrupt, and in the dark. The eternal truths that the LDS prophets brought should have been a breath of fresh air, and open to no interpretation. For their words were final, having come from a God who now has given the fullness of the gospel in these latter-days. But as the modern day church has come under the spotlight it has taken on much of the burden off their founders. Many of the things that their prophets of old have said, have been explained away by its modern day members. In the effort to look more Christian, we have seen what used to be eternal truths, now seen as only being pertinent in their time, for specific people.
I bet that the prophets and apostles of the Mormon church believed that what they were authoritative! I would go as far to say that anyone who believed otherwise was called an apostate!
According to the ward teacher’s message for June 1945 it contains a statement similar. It states that “Any Latter-day Saint who denounces or opposes, whether actively or otherwise, any plan or doctrine advocated by the prophet’s, seers, and revelators’ of the church is cultivating the spirit of apostasy… Lucifer…wins a great victory when he can get members of the church to speak against their leaders and to do their own thinking.” So we see that the church believed that those that spoke for God spoke with authority. The improvement era, in June 1945 (pg.354), made this statement “when our leader’s speak, the thinking has been done. When they propose a plan-its God’s plan. When they point the way, there is no other which is safe. When they give direction, it should mark the end of controversy.” Interesting since there has been over 300 sects of Mormonism developed in the past 200 years. Heber C. Kimball, first council to Brigham Young, made these statements: “When brother Joseph smith lived, he was our prophet, our seer, and revelator; He was our dictator in the things of God, and it was for us to listen to him, and do just as he told us” (Journal of discourses v.2, p.106)
On September 6, 1857, Thomas B Marsh declared: “I have now got a better understanding of the presidency of the church than I formerly had. I used to ask myself what is the difference between the president of our church, and the Pope? True, he is not called a Pope, but names do not alter realities, and therefore he is a pope”. (Journal of discourses, vol. 5 pg.208) The founder of Mormonism Joseph smith gave a revelation for his followers to “ give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you… his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith” (Doctrine and Covenants 21:4-5) And finally we have it declared to us in the Journal of discourses vol.7 pgs.374-375, which states “ God placed Joseph Smith at the head of this church; God has likewise placed Brigham Young at the head of this church; we are commanded to give heed to their words in all things, and receive their words as from the mouth of God, in all patience and faith”
Whether Mormons want to believe it or not this speaks volumes to how the inspired leaders saw themselves, and how those that were under their authority were to act in accordance to their words. It is plainly obvious that when the founders spoke they spoke from God. Either the founders were who they said they were or not. If Mormons are the only ones dispensing truth in our day, then why is it being discarded? Judging by what the founders said about how the members are to heed to their words, I would say that the modern day church is in a state of apostasy! Why can’t the Mormon church be real about what they teach? Plural marriage was essential to gaining entrance into the celestial kingdom according to the revelation by Joseph Smith on July 12, 1843. Yet the modern day Mormon will say, “well that’s what happens in heaven not on earth”, hmmm is that how the prophet who received revelation saw it?
Let us take a look at that revelation:
“verily, thus saith the Lord unto my servant Joseph, that in as much as you have inquired of my hand to know and understand wherein I, the Lord, justified my servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as also Moses, David and Solomon, my servants, as touching the principle and Doctrine of having many wives and concubines- behold and lo, I am the Lord they God and will answer thee as touching this matter. Therefore prepare they heart to receive and obey the instructions which I am about to give unto you, for all those who have this law revealed unto them must obey the same. For behold, I reveal unto you a NEW AND EVERLASTING COVENANT; AND IF HE ABIDE NOT THAT COVENANT, THEN Y ARE DAMNED, FOR NO ONE CAN REJECT THIS COVENANT AND BE PREMITTED INTO MY GLORY” there is more to this revelation but it does not pertain to the subject at hand.
Mormons, please listen! This is your founder, your “seer” your “revelator” your “prophet” and to not ‘Heed” his word, as he says, you will be “damned”! Let this sink in please! I am not in any way trying to be harsh, but I want the modern church to understand that you don’t allow the Prophets to speak as they spoke. Where is the understanding of what a new and everlasting covenant is? It is binding and will never change. This is how your founder perceived his words to mean. they were not subject to change. I’m sorry modern day church, but you are damned. And according to Joseph Smith you will not be permitted to enter into God’s glory.
This revelation shows us that it was to be happening on earth, not in heaven. For just as he says, the servants of God in the Old Testament were “justified”, so would the Mormon people during their lifetime. But due to the overwhelming persecution for their practice of polygamy by the federal government, the LDS church had to make changes. This coming down to an ultimatum, either quit the practice of polygamy, or you cannot become a state. The church choose the latter. But just because latter prophets had “revelations” stating that the doctrine of polygamy was no longer practiced, means nothing. Cause the understanding of everlasting is absent in the minds of all those who choose to reject the words of their founder Joseph Smith.
I want the Mormon people to understand that when God uses a prophet it is for the means of getting His word across to His people. In the Old Testament, we see God using prophets as a means of judgment for His people. For instance Ezekiel was sent by God to speak His words whether the people listened or not. He was to go to the exiles and speak to them, and to say all that God commands. Whether the people listened or not they heard “THUS SAYS THE LORD” (Eze.3:11). Look at all the mighty prophets of old, God used them to dispense His word. When judgment fell on the house of Judah God sent Jeremiah to proclaim judgment on the people. One of the main ways God proved that He was God was by sending a spokesperson on His behalf. For there were many prophets that claimed they spoke for God, so the issue of validity had to be proven. We see an excellent example of this in 1 Kings 18. But after this confrontation with Elijah and Baal, what do we see after God rained fire from heaven? In vs. 39 it states that “ when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “THE LORD, HE IS GOD; THE LORD, HE IS GOD.” for the people realized that it was the true God that had the power. And this power was shown through His servant Elijah.
Whether in the face of harm, isolation, or even death, the prophets of old proclaimed the message to His people by proclaiming “ THUS SAYS THE LORD” even when it put His servants at risk. Put to the test the prophets of old were authentic in the eyes of the people, for it was God who authenticated them. And the major way this was done, was by foretelling events. So what do we see when the LDS prophets are told to authenticate their office?
This is a transcript from the Reed-Smoot investigation between Senator Dubios, and the sixth president of the Mormon church Joseph F. Smith:
“Senator Dubios.- have you received any revelations from God, which has been submitted by you and the apostles to the body of the church in their semiannual conference, which revelation has been sustained by that conference, through the upholding of their hands?
“Mr. Smith- since when?
“Senator Dubios- since you have become president of the church.
“Mr. Smith- No, sir, none whatever
“Senator Dubios- have you received any individual revelation yourself, since you became president of the church under your own definition, even, of a revelation?
“Mr. Smith- I cannot say that I have.
“Senator Dubios- can you say that you have not?
“Mr. Smith- no; I cannot say that I have not.
“Senator Dubios- then you do not know whether you have received any such revelation as you have described or whether you have not?
“Mr. Smith- well, I can say this: that if I live as I should in the line of my duties, I am susceptible, I think, of the impressions of the spirit of the Lord upon my mind at any time, just as any good Methodist or any other good church member might be. And so far as that is concerned, I say yes; I have had impressions of the Spirit upon my mind very frequently, but they are not in the sense of revelations” (Reed Smoot case, Vol.1 pages 483-484).
On pages 99 of the same volume Joseph F. Smith stated: “I have never pretended to nor do I profess to have received revelation” I hope we all can see that a true prophet of God does not in any way denounce his calling. Those prophets of old, even under extreme persecution from the people, never stopped proclaiming “THUS SAYS THE LORD.” But as we have seen it didn’t take much for the Mormon prophet to profess his inability to receive revelation.
You would think that this would be enough for the Mormon people to see that those who claim to be prophets in this world, when put to the test, they do not stand. As a former Mormon, I have put the LDS prophets through the litmus test of Deut, 18,13, and have seen time and time again that they fail the test.
May Christians have a discerning mind to what people call prophets, and measure it against the word of God.