Questions to ask Mormons Pt 7: Which Teachings are “Official”?
In a Nut Shell, too often when talking with Mormons a topic comes up on doctrine or some issue and when it conflicts with the Bible or even the teachings of their leaders or “Standard Works” they say that it is “Not Official”. This plausible deniability gets them out of many things and it is important to get LDS to pinpoint where a CONSISTENT standard of truth, such as we have in the Bible. With Mormonism it is ever-changing feeling, vote or opinion.
Another critical question to ask members of the LDS when you engage in conversation with them lies in the area of what they hold to be authoritative? When a Mormon establishes their foundation of truth they hold to three sources truth by revelation: (1) Past Leaders, (2) Current Leaders, and (3) the “Standard Works.”
In considering past leaders, they hold to “Open Revelation”, basically each president speaks for God. Although att their general conference they “Speak for God” what they speak about must be voted on for it to be “official”. However such past presidents such as Brigham Young said that anytime he taught it was directly from God and inspired by God.
Brigham Young said every Sermon he gave was scripture.
“I know just as well what to teach this people and just what to say to them and what to do in order to bring them into the celestial kingdom, as I know the road to my office. It is just as plain and easy. The Lord is in our midst. He teaches the people continually. I have never yet preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of men, that they may not call Scripture. ” (Source – Journal of Discourses, Vol.13, p.95, Brigham Young, January 2, 1870) I would assume if I were a LDS member that Youngs teaching, would be “Scripture” and therefore be counted the same as the “Standard Works”, but they are not. For example, the Adam God Doctrine that the LDS Church has rejected (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 1:50-51).
Think it is a fluke here is the tip of the iceberg:
Brigham Young said you are “Damned” if you deny polygamy. “Now if any of you will deny the plurality of wives, and continue to do so, I promise that you will be damned,” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 3, p. 266). Also, “The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy,” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 11, p. 269).
Brigham Young said he had never given any counsel that was wrong. “I am here to answer. I shall be on hand to answer when I am called upon, for all the counsel and for all the instruction that I have given to this people. If there is an Elder here, or any member of this Church, called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who can bring up the first idea, the first sentence that I have delivered to the people as counsel that is wrong, I really wish they would do it; but they cannot do it, for the simple reason that I have never given counsel that is wrong; this is the reason.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 16, p. 161).
Brigham Young said you can’t get to Celestial heaven unless Joseph Smith’s allows it. “…no man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith,” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p. 289).
Brigham Young said that there were inhabitants on the the Moon. Who can tell us of the inhabitants of this little planet that shines of an evening, called the moon? When we view its face we may see what is termed “the man in the moon,” and what some philosophers declare are the shadows of mountains. But these sayings are very vague, and amount to nothing; and when you inquire about the inhabitants of that sphere you find that the most learned are as ignorant in regard to them as the most ignorant of their fellows. So it is with regard to the inhabitants of the sun. Do you think it is inhabited? I rather think it is. Do you think there is any life there? No question of it; it was not made in vain. It was made to give light to those who dwell upon it, and to other planets; and so will this earth when it is celestialized. (Journal of Discourses/Volume 13/The Gospel—The One-man Power)
Brigham Young said that there were inhabitants on the Sun. (The History of Oliver B. Huntington, p. 10, typed copy, Marriott Library, University of Utah)
And he is just one of sixteen prophets who “speak” for God. I hope that puts it in perspective.
However today “Living Prophets” trump dead ones. You can find this on The LDS website cited below with more explanation and detail. So whatever Brigham Young said,.. you can forget it,.. if the LDS Church no longer chooses to hold to it for whatever reason, be it political, cultural, legal, historical, genetic or other reasons, they just throw it out, but they cannot really completely throw the Prophet, under the bus, as this becomes a sticky issue for the LDS Church. Neither do the consider him a false prophet,… perplexing! Here are the facts.
Living Prophets trump dead ones
“The living prophet is more important to us than a dead prophet. The living prophet has the power of TNT. By that I mean “Today’s News Today.” God’s revelations to Adam did not instruct Noah how to build the ark. Noah needed his own revelation. Therefore, the most important prophet so far as you and I are concerned is the one living in our day and age to whom the Lord is currently revealing His will for us…Beware of those who would pit the dead prophets against the living prophets, for the living prophets always take precedence.”
(Okay, can I ask the obvious question here,…if today’s living prophet Thomas S. Monson says so, say can we ignore Ezra Taft Benson?,… okay sorry for the interruption now back to the citations)
Where does this come from?
The 14 Fundamentals in Following the Prophet / 13th President of the LDS Church (As Stated by Ezra Taft Benson Feb 26, 1980)
- The prophet is the only man who speaks for the Lord in everything.
- The living prophet is more vital to us than the standard works. (This means their SCRIPTURE!)
- The living prophet is more important to us than a dead prophet.
- The prophet will never lead the Church astray.
- 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.
- The prophet does not have to say “Thus saith the Lord” to give us scripture.
- The prophet tells us what we need to know, not always what we want to know.
- The prophet is not limited by men’s reasoning.
- The prophet can receive revelation on any matter, temporal or spiritual.
- The prophet may be involved in civic matters.
- The two groups who have the greatest difficulty in following the prophet are the proud who are learned and the proud who are rich.
- The prophet will not necessarily be popular with the world or the worldly.
- The prophet and his counselors make up the First Presidency — the highest quorum in the Church.
- The prophet and the presidency — the living prophet and the First Presidency — follow them and be blessed; reject them and suffer.
The Standard works are Scripture. That would imply that they are inspired, Holy and from God. Here is what Joseph Smith believed about these “inspired” works.
- Joseph Smith – Book of Mormon contains the “fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles and to the Jews also” Doctrine and Covenants 20:8-9 (April 1830)
- Joseph Smith – “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.” History of the Church, vol. 4, p. 461 (1841)
- Joseph Smith – “Search these commandments, for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled. What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; … but all shall be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.” Doctrine and Covenants 1:37-38 (November 1, 1831)
- “What Scriptures Do We Have Today — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints accepts four books as scripture: the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. These books are called the standard works of the Church. The inspired words of our living prophets are also accepted as scripture.” Gospel Principles, p. 52 (1992)
Want to see spin in action check out the post on Adam God out soon!
In short, when the LDS Church does not want to deal with a real issue,.. they dodge it with plausible deniability. If they do not want to “own” a teaching they simply say it is not Official and feel that this lets them off the hook. It’s easy its common its standard and,…. well truth be told,.. it ROCKS!!!