Monday, November 3, 2008

Why Follow A False Prophet?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints believes in a latter-day prophet. We believe that this prophet is here on earth to give us guidance as to how to live our lives to not only maximize our happiness here on this earth, but to prepare us for the next. God has a history of sending prophets to teach his people. Rarely have these prophets been welcomed, loved or popular.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has never sought to be popular- some of its teachings seem strange- others are extremely basic, such as a huge charity effort and welfare around the world. While some members of its church would like to be more universally accepted, the church its self has never actively sought main stream acceptance.

In 1995 the First Presidency of the Church Released- The Family: A Proclamation to the World. It's pretty cut and dry as to what the church believes the family consists of- with out apology- and stated so 13 years ago.

The Church has come out in ardent support of proposition 8, which many of its members have criticized. I can understand individuals not supporting prop 8. I have a friend who I was curious how she would react to prop. 8 as she is active in church and extremely liberal. However, I don't understand why people would come out against prop.8 violently, and remain members of the church.

Either members that oppose prop.8 are wrong, or the man they deem the Prophet of God is wrong. And if the man that they support as The Prophet of God is wrong- why belong to a false church? Why follow a fallen leader?

There are many things about my faith I don't understand- but that's where faith comes into play and I 'lean not unto my own understanding'. Because I believe in a latter-day prophet I accept that he knows things that I do not know, I believe he is a seer, and has a bit more knowledge about the future than I have. I believe that this man knows more about the impact of Prop.8 than I will. It's one of the basic principles of the LDS church- faith. But it's obvious that thousands of Mormons think they know more than their leaders- and if they do- why remain part of a church that is wrong?

If it was me, and I thought the leadership of the church I belonged to was wrong- that the man I sustain as a mouthpiece of the Lord was false- I'd take my 10% and go.


Kim said...

I completely agree.
I think it is one thing to take your time to understand the why we believe what we do. No one should blindly uphold a prophet. As stated by many prophets and leaders they want us to have our own testimony of the doctrines. I know many members, especially those with homosexual loved ones, have struggled to support prop 8. I get that. And I know after careful study and prayer a vast majority of them have indeed put aside the hardship and struggle and sided with the prophet. This is no different-If my dad decided to all of a sudden become an alcoholic . .. I wouldn't argue against the divinity of the word of wisdom. I wouldn't start a Mormons against the WofW. And if I did I would expect to be excommunicated.

The gospel is the gospel. We either belong or we don't.

Man that felt good. I have been needing to get that off my chest.

Allie said...

I think that people stay because they believe that this is God's church, but that the prophet, while a prophet of God, is also still human. Subject to the weaknesses of all humans.

The major supports for this are Brigham Young (among other church leaders of his time) being extremely racist. Was he a false prophet? Of course not. He was subject to the time and culture in which he lived.

I'm not going to say whether our church leaders current support of prop 8 is from God, or if it is from the time and culture in which we live. I don't presume to know more about God's will than the prophet, however,

I don't feel good about prop 8. I've prayed about it, I wish I could feel good about it. I'd like to follow the prophet, in the letter read across CA wards, the first presidency asked CA mormons to do all they could do to support prop 8. I find myself in a position where I am not capable of doing anything to support prop 8.

(Also, I don't live in CA, so it doesn't really matter if I support prop 8 anyway)

Anonymous said...

I think that if a member of the church has a hard time supporting prop 8 (as may be the case with members who have homosexual loved ones)then they have to balance their lives just as any member with non-member family. (We all know someone whose loved ones could not be a part of their temple weddings)However, I also believe there is a big difference between saying:

"I'd rather not put a sign in my yard because my only brother whom I dearly love and respect is gay" (the words of a friend of mine)

and: starting/supporting a website/effort that clearly contradicts the teachings and counsel of the prophet (whom you state that you sustain in your temple recommend interview)
is huge. I thing that Steve Young's wife is making a huge mistake. If I were her bishop I would have a VERY hard time giving her a temple recommend as the question clearly states:

Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

cropstar said...

Totally agree. Well said, Salt.
I've thought from the beginning that this issue is nothing more than a test for the members of the church to prove whether or not they stand with the Prophet or not. I can understand that some would struggle to support prop 8 when it affects their friends or family. But, in the end, is it more important to side with friends & family or with the Prophet of God?
Love Kim's comparison of the Word of Wisdom. Touche.

davers said...

Our Home Teacher came by last night and before he left he had to throw in his 2 cents about what a lousy thing Prop 8 was and how wrong it was that the Church was involved.

He used to be bishop here.

Anyway, it was no surprise to me, and arguing with him is like talking to a brick wall, so I just smiled and changed the subject.

He's one of many good people who compartmentalizes religion. I tend to do the same, but when religious matters mix with temporal matters I tend to give the advantage to religion.

I understand people like this, but I feel sorry for them. In the future I can't see how they can continue the practice of putting the philosophies of men above the doctrine of the church as the church takes stronger more and ardent positions as atheist forces make further in-roads to daily living.

They cling to the idea that legislating an environment that promotes righteousness is contrary to the concept of free agency. That misconception however is the reason church leaders no longer use the term "free agency" and now use the term "moral agency".

Free agency was never mean to suggest that we are free from consequences. Neither did the doctrine of free agency mean that society will not respond to immoral and harmful acts to society.

Unless members can shift their understanding from "free agency" to "moral agency" at some point their faith will completely fracture as they continue to insist that immoral behavior must have no consequences put upon them by the church or by society, or that they insist we do not protect the sanctity of marriage or any other institution that we consider sacred sacraments. It only seems a matter of time.

Melissa said...

I was going to reply about our home teacher too. It was good timing that the kids started acting up and we could distract the conversation. He is not the type to be convinced. And he is the type to be 100% right about everything.

I agree with you Kory. I also believe that this is a very hard time to be an LDS person in CA.

Mikie said...

I was listening to Elder Holland's talk from the October 2006 conference this morning and this part jumped out at me, reminded me of the suggestions that have been made regarding the leaders of the church with relation to their call to action regarding proposition 8 (as Allie said, that they are human and prone to human frailties).

"Not often but over the years some sources have suggested that the Brethren are out of touch in their declarations, that they don't know the issues, that some of their policies and practices are out-of-date, not relevant to our times.

"As the least of those who have been sustained by you to witness the guidance of this Church firsthand, I say with all the fervor of my soul that never in my personal or professional life have I ever associated with any group who are so in touch, who know so profoundly the issues facing us, who look so deeply into the old, stay so open to the new, and weigh so carefully, thoughtfully, and prayerfully everything in between. I testify that the grasp this body of men and women have of moral and societal issues exceeds that of any think tank or brain trust of comparable endeavor of which I know anywhere on the earth. I bear personal witness of how thoroughly good they are, of how hard they work, and how humbly they live. It is no trivial matter for this Church to declare to the world prophecy, seership, and revelation, but we do declare it. It is true light shining in a dark world, and it shines from these proceedings."

--Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, October 2006,5232,23-1-646-38,00.html

These great men may have human frailties, but I suspect their flaws are far smaller than some people seem to be suggesting. Their calling and authority qualifies them for a much greater degree of divine assistance and guidance than you and I typically will enjoy-- because they are called to represent Christ and lead us-- and the Lord loves each and every one of his children and knows what's best for them.

(Either that or the church just isn't true-- as Salty has made abundantly clear.)

Dwight said...

I'd like to put forth some thoughts to those that believe this is the gospel and those of us with dissenting opinions don't belong in the church.

First to if the leaders of the church are out of touch or not I don't doubt their position or authority. I also recognize that they are inspired and not just old men. However Elder Oaks counsel is to limit contact with gay offspring, to not show support for their lifestyle and to shield younger siblings from their influence. The Saviour had no problem being seen in public with publicans and sinners. Also competent psychiatric authority, a faithful member of the church, can't help but scoff a little at that as it suggests that maybe it'll influence younger siblings to be gay. One does not choose to have gay feelings any more than you chose to be attracted to the opposite sex.

Do you know what these men have asked gay members to do though? Painful shock therapy to try and 'cure' them. Just go ahead and marry and have a family and everything will turn out fine. In all cases I know of that has resulted in divorce and more often than not kids were involved.

Do you know the history of the church? That Joseph Smith taught from the get go that he was only a man and not infallible? The last great challenge to the institution of marriage was polygamist Mormons. We only gave up the practice because statehood was more important. What about the priesthood ban? Do you know that the church fought successfully to stop ERA. That's Equal Rights Amendment that would've made it against the constitution to discriminate based on sex. Do you get that in the 70's the leaders of the church thought it would destroy society to make it unconstitutional to discriminate based on sex?

I suppose when the prophet stands in conference and says, "thus saith the Lord..." against gay marriage and that those members that live in jurisdictions that gay marriage is already legal to move to where it is not, that I'll have to consider things in that context. For now that spirit of peace that has come to me many times in life when reading the scriptures, trying times, times of healing, at the temple, and most recently when I posted publicly on my facebook profile to dispel the fear-mongering lies (which they are lies) about what gay marriage means to the church. Aren't we supposed to know things by their fruits? What is the fruit of hate, lies and fear?

Dwight said...

I've already said enough, but I wanted to make sure I answered your original question. it's that faith and the spirit that keep me in the church. At the end of the day it's the LDS faith or atheism and I know that there is a God. I've had to learn fairly early on that God's church and God's people doesn't always mean the best people that are 100% correct all the time. The most judgemental people I know are Mormons oblivious to how un-Christlike they act. So in a world where I have to balance that, that this is God's church and no matter what my ideological differences are I feel the spirit in coming together to worship with my fellow saints on Sunday.

Cameron said...

"The Saviour had no problem being seen in public with (Repentant) publicans and sinners."

Salt H2O said...

Thank you for your insight. I don't think anyone would say those with dissenting opinions don't belong in the church. I just can't understand why individuals who think that The Proclimation on the Family is a false document or that think that the prophet of God is a liar would WANT to stay. Because quite honestly if it was me- I'd leave.

As to the church's history, I have some issues with it myself. I've dealt with those in my own way, but that is a blog for another day.

As to the fruit of hate, lies and fear- if you read my previous posts about why I support prop 8- you'll see none of the above, and I think you'll be suprised that most who support prop 8 are void of those qualities as well.

As to your last comment. I absolutely agree about members of the church being judgemental. If this was just an issue of the members thinking they should support something and getting behind it, it would be a different conversation. But if it was me, and I thought that the Prophet was wrong- I don't think I could listen to General Confrence, pay tithing or dedicate time and energy to a church being led by a man who is not inspired by God.

adam said...

"But it's obvious that thousands of Mormons think they know more than their leaders"

For the record, I don't think I know more than most anybody. I could be wrong on my views on Prop. 8.

"why remain part of a church that is wrong?"

I don't think that possibly being wrong in one area makes everything wrong. If that were the case I would have left the church a long time ago. I think this kind of binary thinking is dangerous because once one's ability to rationalize historical skeletons breaks down or gets overloaded, they leave.

"I don't think I could listen to General Confrence, pay tithing or dedicate time and energy to a church being led by a man who is not inspired by God."

Perhaps the difference between us here is that you believe (as it seems, anyway) that being inspired means that one doesn't err. I think it means that one is inspired. I don't know how else to say it.

Dwight said...

Those sinners and publicans ate with Him, one account says they followed him, but we don't really know much about them other than that. Apparently some of them were still in need of repentance or Jesus wouldn't be have referred to them as being like the sick that need a physician. I only have the scriptures to go with cause unfortunately the only Jesus the Christ by Talmage I have handy is in Swedish, and I don't understand enough to have a conversation let alone read Talmage.

To extend to modern day I was never told on my mission to divine who was repentant and only go to them. I was told to preach repentance to all.

I support and believe in the proclamation on the family. The eternal family unit is essential. Let's face it though that gay people aren't addressed by the proclamation. I'd love to see something, anything on the subject that is revelation from God, not that I ever expect gay people to be in full fellowship unless they are celibate. However I also grew up with the 11th article of faith. That I get to worship my (sometimes crazy) religion and as such I'll let you worship yours. Some people don't believe homosexuality is a sin. So am I infringing on their beliefs and their rights to deny them marriage.

Sure they can marry someone of the opposite sex like you, but they can't marry someone they are physically attracted to.

Your fear about gay marriage shows when you worry about your kids in public school learning about gay marriage. Guess what they are going to know about it no matter what. Ignorance is not bliss, there is a lot of things your kids will learn in any school, and as a parent you got to teach and raise them your way. You can't keep them in a bubble forever. What about the kids of failed marriages due to being encouraged by the church to marry despite one partner being gay? Do those kids deserve to be social pariahs? The laws of California don't really allow them to teach your kids that explicitly and you can opt-out if you want completely of sex education in public schools. You worry Gay Pride Day will become as big as the 4th of July cause gay marriage is legal. Gay Pride day is cause gay people find it healthy to have a day to celebrate who they are cause society keeps trying to sweep them under the rug. Gay people are not the promiscuous demons we like to make them out to be, but you try being normal when all of society is against you. You say don't define Mormons by certain stereotypes and then turn around and define gay people with the stereotypes you are familiar with. The majority of gay people I know are normal people and it'd be impossible to pick them out of a lineup. Perhaps as society can accept them for who they are a little more, we'll have less deviant behaviour, I know straight people who would happily prance around in similarly skimpy outfits in public.

You worry about the being sued for opposing gay marriage. Guess what the way the church operates they are protected. They don't take government money or work as wards of the state in adoption (or else they'd already be sued by straight married couples that aren't active temple recommend holders that they won't help). Bishops and the temple don't just marry people as a public service, so it's not discrimination for them to not marry gay people as it is for them to not marry straight couples not associated with the church at all. The church doesn't let the public rent or use its property unless invited so it's not open to lawsuits to do so. You are afraid for the firefighters who were forced to walk in a gay pride parade, and yet in the linked article now participation in any parade is voluntary. Sure there might be bumps along the way, but does that mean we have to throw the baby out with the bath water?

While I was writing this, adam wrote a good reply as well. Our faith is not in a never erring man as prophet.

Mikie said...

Consider the possibility that defining marriage as simply a relationship between two people who love each other *could* impact more than just those gay people who get married. Of course they believe differently than us-- but the issue, in my mind, is the impact on society as a whole.

Also consider the possibility that a straight parent in support of proposition 8 might have no fear associated with the gay marriage being legal. I agree with you, fear is not a proper motivator. But you're suggesting that the only reasons that people object are negative ones such as fear and hatred. I think that's an awfully narrow view.

I simply see it as the church encouraging its members to take a stand in defense of the family, and the only thing that's surprising to me is that they've been so outspoken about it, since typically we're only given general counsel to be involved in our communities and civic affairs.

joanna said...

Perfect, perfect, perfect.

I have always wondered why some have one foot in the Church and the other foot wandering around. I can't point fingers, though, because I'm sure I've done the same on some issues.

I scanned through your current comments and I have a couple things on my mind:
(1) I agree with what "cropstar" said. I wonder if this is just a test. Well, of course it is, but you know what I mean.
(2) I agree that the Church is probably not worried in the slightest about being sued for not performing gay marriages down the road (if Prop 8 passes.) If they were concerned about it, well. . . we'll see what happens.
(3) It is difficult to support those you love who are gay and are trying to find happiness. I am in that situation. I have to love them. I almost think that because we have to live IN the world, and we have to love all our neighbors (not just the ones exactly like us) being tolerant of civil unions or domestic partnerships is almost a necessary evil. I'm just throwing this out there: Let's allow gay individuals to share some of the same rights as partners, but when it comes to "marriage," let our government leaders know that that is sacred ground. It is God-ordained between man and woman; it has eternal implications in our religion and we need some sensitivity to our religious practices.
(4) Re: Dwight's comments -- until I hear from a General Authority's mouth about the help provided to gay members of the Church, I can't accept heresay or even interpretations from gay members as to what really happened in counseling sessions, etc. Haven't you heard people misconstrue / misinterpret / exaggerate counsel from their leaders? I'm just putting out that thought. Otherwise, you are right Dwight - we have to lean on our faith because so many things will confuse us in this life.
(5) You know, call me crazy, but I've never been concerned about my kid (and future kid(s)) learning about alternative lifestyles at school or elsewhere; the reason being that I can teach him/them at home, i.e., "Alex, there are many people who believe and live differently than we do. This is what Heavenly Father has taught us to do..." etc.

Ben and Kimberly McEvoy said...

Joanna, your last comment is short sighted. I agree that you are going to try to teach your child at home, and that is important. I have been waving signs for the last couple of days and I have been called a homophobe, biggot, flipped off, and a few other things not clean enough to post. I am 32. I went on a mission. Noone really challenged me with slurs and profanity until I was already firm in my belief. Those are not as easy to overcome for a very young person. And who will want to continue to believe in any church that a majority believe to be biggoted. I am not saying religion should be easy, to the contrary, but please, please, please people, do not maintain that the prophet comes out with a directive to be read in sacrament meetings that is possibly against the will of The Lord. I know he is a seer, revealer of truth, and he looks at things beyond the short term.

If your own will is different from the will of The Lord, there is no question who needs to change.

And Dwight, you should probably read up on the ERA. You think, very ignorantly that you can understand an issue by the name of the issue. You should look a little deeper as to why the church did not support it. We do support equality for men and women, but the ERA goes much deeper than that, particularly in blurring the line that says there are actual differences in gender. We happen to be discussing a very closely related issue in this thread, with same sex marriage.

Anyway, go and vote Yes on 8 tomorrow, and vote for the presidential candidate of your choice.

joanna said...

Ben, I appreciate your comments. I also served a mission and remember the opposition I received from non-believers. It's REAL opposition out there!
I guess I'm just saying I can't protect my child from everything. Of course I don't want him believing that it's OK and NORMAL under God's plan for same-sex couples to live together and love each other the way my spouse and I do! :)

I DEFINITELY wasn't saying this:

"that the prophet comes out with a directive to be read in sacrament meetings that is possibly against the will of The Lord."

I don't know what exactly the prophet sent to bishops in California to read (I am in Indiana) but if the prophet said schools should not teach homosexuality, I definitely agree!! I am only saying that if schools decided homosexuality HAD to be taught, I HAVE to do whatever I can at home. Anyway, I could go on about this, but you and I agree, so we can leave it at that.

Dwight said...

Joanna, you're right all I can offer is hearsay. Apparently the instruction was in a manual published in 1981 and when it was updated in 1992 encouraging gay members to marry and have families was no longer recommended counsel. I can't get more specific than people's accounts of what the manual says. I have it from gay Mormons who are active celibate in the church that it was what was counseled to them, along with straight Mormons that married gay people and gay people that are no longer Mormon. So it's hearsay, lacking being able to read the manual myself, but I am on the other side of the fence, I'll believe it until a general authority comes out and refutes it.

Ben here is the text of the proposed amendment:

"Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification."

Where does it blur gender line? Perhaps it was an unfounded fear like those drummed up to support Yes on 8.

joanna said...

Dwight (& others reading) - I think Church members being gay is one of the TOUGHEST issues we have as a Church. I really feel for those who are struggling because there aren't always straight-forward answers, especially on "why" and "what do I do?" Actually, I'm glad to hear that it is no longer encouraged for gays to marry and have children. It seemed that was kind of a cover-up option, but maybe right at the time. Church counsel has also changed over the years in regards to other specific issues.
Anyway, I think the Lord will lend a special hand to those with this struggle. It's important we also lend a hand and accept those within our Church who have same-sex attraction.
(Just adding my "Hands Across America" thought here.)

Steve said...

I have a lot to say, but won't b/c in summation, it's all over this blog and adam's in varying degrees. But people like Joanna do more good for the church than the church itself supporting Prop 8.

I left the church for many of the reasons posted by Salty, not just this one issue, but from the culmination of a faith that didn't reconcile with my belief of Christ and how he would want us to lead our lives, ie treat others. I'm still far from perfect, so leaving the church hasn't accomplished much more in that front, but at least I don't feel like I am supporting in name and financially to something that felt unChrist like in action and spirit.

Allie said...

Adam posted an interview by Richard Bushman about how people have dealt with discoveries of Joseph Smith not being the perfect prophet they were always taught he was.

I think it's similar to this- Joseph Smith wasn't perfect, but his lack of perfection doesn't have to detract from the miraculous thing he did, the things that Heavenly Father had him do.

The church, with all it's people is of course not perfect. There are many many faults, I'd say especially in areas with high concentrations of mormons, but the gospel, the plan of salvation, the atonement, the truth of the gospel, keeps many people in the church.

Like adam said on his blog, he wouldn't leave his wife because she did one thing he didn't like. Life is messy, and complicated, but that doesn't mean we give up on the good stuff.

Steve said...

Just to clarify, I didn't leave the church b/c I found it to be imperfect, but one reason was due to a "sheep" like mentality I found, which is understandable due to the top down teachings of the church. I found a serious lack of people willing to think and question things on their own, instead just repeating General Counsel comments as "gospel" and the "reason" to think a certain way. Thus, it was hard to find people that really were wanting or even willing to have deep conversations about the truly important things. And being told to "pray and ponder" about something is only encouraged if you get the same result as the authority telling you to. :)

Steve said...

Sorry, that should be "General Conference", not "General Counsel". I really shouldn't blog from work! haha.

Salt H2O said...

"I didn't leave the church b/c I found it to be imperfect, but one reason was due to a "sheep" like mentality I found"

Steve- who is the Great Shepard? :)

Cindi M said...


I'm sorry you left the church because of what you saw other people doing. I too, have struggled with what you mentioned. At one point recently, I made a list of experiences I had that I could not deny. It was a pretty short list compared to what I had previously thought I *knew* to be true, but within that list were all the basics of a strong testimony of the Gospel. Before I made the list, the thing that kept me from leaving the church was simply knowing that most people who leave the church do so because of feeling offended. I didn't want to put myself in that category. (Pride...served me well in this case!)

I'm curious to know from you if you have a list like that (even mental) and what you have done with it so that you could walk away from the church? (An acquaintance of mine recently left the church and had her records removed. I wondered the same about her, but we don't communicate enough for me to ask her something like that.)

mj said...

Wow. I agree with much of this post, but I have a lot of emotional response to it. My faith and belief in a prophet has been very powerful in my life, has guided many of my actions and has sometimes caused me great difficulty in reconciling my political beliefs with my religious ones. I have seen many of my friends whom I respect greatly and even agree with on most political topics (including my very best friends in college and grad school) leave the church, ostensibly because they found it to be intolerant on issues like this one. I myself waivered for about a year with the difference that having seen them make their choices and not actually be happier I decided to keep going through the motions of church while I figured things out. For many months I felt no better but eventually I had several experiences (mostly on my knees) that helped me decide to hold onto my faith. Faith can be such an intangible thing and the purposes of God can often be impossible for us to see. Though I personally agree that if I'm going to follow a prophet I need to do it wholeheartedly or not at all, it is not in me to do so blindly. I would be really careful about implying that others should leave the church if they disagree with something as I would never want anyone to feel that they are not invited.

Also Steve, I can tell you that it is possible to be a liberal democrat and LDS (though you might end up breaking from the party now and then), but I absolutely respect your integrity.

Salt H2O said...

I would NEVER want to imply that anyone should leave the church, (that is not my judgement to make) nor make them feel unwelcome. no no no no, that is not anywhere close to my intent.

This post came from watching members petition the church to change, and reading a number of very angry posts from members about the churches stance on prop.8

That's when I thought 'wow, if I felt that way about the prophet- or the church, there is no way I would remain a member'

adam said...

salt, I'm not sure yet, but perhaps my faith and activity related to the church isn't squarely based on whether or not the prophet is always right, but rather more on some of the things I outlined on my post.

ray said...

A friend of mine once said, "for every General Authority quote there is an equal and opposite General Authority quote". We are supposed to get all the education we can, not put off having children, and be the primary nurturers of our children. Just how are can we do all those things? We've also been told not to marry someone of another race and that any two righteous people can be happily married. (Sorry, too lazy to look up all the sources, but you've all heard them.)

It's this kind of counsel that makes my faith dizzy and it's times like this that I have to fall back on the basics of my testimony - that I do believe that our prophet was called of God to guide His church on earth. He, of course, is an imperfect man who can and will say imperfect things (Joseph Fielding Smith saying man would never reach the moon comes to mind). But if I am going to err, I'm going to err on the side of the prophet.

No, I am not "blindly" following. I have chosen who to follow with faith that he will not lead me astray.

Jen said...

Haven't we all heard countless times that the prophet of God will never be allowed to lead the Church astray?
Of course, the prophet has human flaws. But what I don't understand is why some people seem to be using that as an excuse as to not follow his counsel. When he gives counsel for the Church, i.e. support prop 8, he is speaking for the Lord. Not himself. Do you really want to judge whether that's just his "human err" or the voice of the Lord? Christ will not allow His Church to be led astray. I'd go with that! Therefore, when the prophet mandates that we should not just "support" prop 8 but donate our time, effort, and resources to ensure it's passed, I think it's safe to say this is an important issue to the Lord and we best heed the counsel.

I understand that this is a difficult issue for those who have gay loved ones. But let's not try to dissect whether the counsel is human error on the prophet's part or if it came from the Lord. Do you really think that the Prophet, who speaks for the Lord, is asking us to do something un-Christlike?That's not the issue. Faith is. Faith to do what is right even when it is hard and uncomfortable and you don't see why you should. The very definition of faith is believing in things not seen or understood. But good new friends- you don't have to know or understand all the reasons why to follow the Lord's counsel. You just have to follow it.
And to those who say they don't want to blindly follow the prophet. Fine, but I would rather follow the prophet who speaks for the Lord than "lean unto my own understanding". I'm pretty sure I'll be better off following Him even if I don't understand His reasoning.

Bottom line: Do you have faith in Jesus Christ and in who leads His church on earth? Then follow the counsel given whether or not you understand why it was given.

Dwight said...

I begrudge no one anything if they are merely following the prophet, I will stand for truth though when I see lies that spread fear.

BTW Apple opposed prop 8, so don't use iPods, or you are supporting people who don't support traditional marriage. On that note Blogger/blogspot is owned by Google who opposed prop 8. Delete your blogs follow the prophet.

Steve said...

Salty - Touche!

MJ/Salty/Cindi/Jen/Ray - I don't mean to imply that I view all active members as "sheep" mindlessly and blindly giving up their agency. And I met amazing people and am still friends with other "lefty" LDS folks from my time in the wards. My problem came down between the reconciliation between trusting my personal relationship with and understanding of Christ with what authority figures would teach and expectations as a member. The Christ I was thankful for having come into my life didn't seem to be the same one I heard others talking about. I felt/feel that my personal relationship was more important than the organized one.

But this goes back to my original comment discussing the falling away Catholicism has experienced in most of the Western world when the church has tried to become involved with politics. The LDS church is only going to alienate MORE members the more it does these sort of actions, either "officially" or not. I realize the Church has two not always simulataneous tasks of doing what they believe is needed and bringing people to Christ, but the more involved it becomes in culture wars, the less it will be able to be inviting to maybe the people that need it the most!

kv said...

What I have found so interesting through this whole Prop 8 thing is how shocked and surprised and offended church members have been over the church's stance on this issue. Why the surprise? The church's position on Prop 8 is completely congruent with their doctrine on gay marriage and traditional families. The church is ALL about families. The church is for the family, not the other way around. Families and children are so important and so vital to our plan here on earth. I can't understand why some LDS people are so shocked that the church would try to defend it.

As to people thinking the church's stance is one of hate and intolerance--The church's OFFICIAL stance (at least in most recent years) has been one of nothing but love, compassion, and charity for people who have same-sex-attraction. It is such a struggle for these people, and my heart goes out to them. But it is still possible to love the sinner and hate the sin. It is still possible to stand up for what is right and still love those we disagree with. I know not all members choose to act that way, but that is the way we've been taught--by our prophets and by Christ himself.
The Church's position on Prop 8 has never been about hatred of gays, but rather, it has been all about a deep love and respect for the traditional family.

Daisy Paige said...

This is basically the conclusion I came to for myself on Sunday, only stated much more eloquently. I went back and forth several times over and finally told my husband that this is one instance I'll have to rely solely on faith to guide me.

Ben and Kimberly McEvoy said...

so steve and dwight and anyone else in these posts that left the church found someone to be less perfect than themselves. wow. shocker.
clearly you guys are intelligent, I can tell by reading your comments, but neither of you can deny the cerebral abilities Kory has shown in her thoughtful approach to most issues. I went to grad school with members of Mensa, who were very faithful Latter Day Saints.

Intelligence is not the issue, as has become extremely popular to use as an argument against organized religion these days. The issue is pride, it always has and always will be. Steve was right, we are followers and can be considered sheep. We are asked to seek to know the will of The Lord, and change our will to be in line with his. Most of us I suspect are more shepherd than sheep though to be quite honest. Once we know what he seeks, we realize the importance of sharing it and positively influencing others who need help and support.
Very intelligent people are on both sides here. Are there members content with blind faith, sure. But if that is your argument, that you can't follow a church that has less than perfection in its members, you are correct, you really can't make it work.

You have to realize that The Lord requires obedience and a willing heart. He doesn't check our GPA's or degree's before we enter the chapel. The work of organized religion is so much more than about yourself. He asks us to look out for his flock. The church is the vehicle to accomplish his purpose.

Kory has a good point, one that will always be there. Some people can leave the church, but they can't leave it alone. There is a reason you keep coming back to the topic. You have had the light of truth in your life, it is very hard to deny it, but the internal struggle is challenging. Please don't think we don't all experience it. The one thing that is sure, is that I am imperfect along with other members, but we are trying to be like the Savior. And our faith in him assures us that we can be purified even as he is pure. It ain't happening in this life for sure, but we still have this hope.

Jeri and Amy said...

I am very sympathetic to those members of the church who oppose(d) Prop 8. Many of us agonized over the Church's position.

Ultimately though, I agree with Kory... while it was very common for church members to question the counsel from the Brethren, it is very different to actively campaign against them. As a good friend of mine said, "I cannot, in good faith, vote for Prop 8. I don't believe in it, and I don't have enough faith in myself and my ability to know what church is right to impose my religious views upon others... However, I cannot take the chance of opposing God by voting against it either." (My friend decided to leave the ballot blank on this particular measure.)

Many of us, like Daisy Paige, decided to follow the prophet despite our inclinations. Others, simply avoided the issue altogether. But to completely disregard the prophet's counsel and actively fight against it, seems a perilous position to take. Even if you believe in the fallibility of prophets (not just when speaking extemporaneously, but even in their official capacity when speaking under the prophetic mantle to members of the church), I can't imagine that God would ever count it against you if you followed the prophet's counsel and he led you amiss.

Of course, this is easy for me to say. I had a very powerful conversion that brought me into the Church. Since that moment, I have had hundreds (if not thousands) of questions that I have struggled to answer. Each time, and in various ways, the Lord has answered my prayers and re-confirmed that the Church is, in fact, true. Because of these experiences, I can take the things I don't know and/or fully understand on faith. Perhaps that is what we all need when questions like this arise-- not a confirmation that the prophet is inspired on each individual issue, but a confirmation that the Church is true. Once we know that, everything else just seems to fall into place.

Jon said...

I really enjoy your blog. Thank you. I came across this quote from a speech from Neal A. Maxwell that summed up my feelings on the subject better than I could:

"Make no mistake about it, brothers and sisters, in the months and years ahead, events are likely to require each member to decide whether or not he will follow the First Presidency. Members will find it more difficult to halt longer between two opinions. President Marion G. Romney said, many years ago, that he had 'never hesitated to follow the counsel of the Authorities of the Church even though it crossed my social, professional or
political life.'

"This is hard doctrine, but it is particularly vital doctrine in a society which is becoming more wicked. In short, brothers and sisters, not being ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ includes not being ashamed of the prophets of Jesus Christ. . . . Your discipleship may see the time when
such religious convictions are discounted. . . . This new irreligious imperialism seeks to disallow certain opinions simply because those opinions grow out of religious convictions.

"Resistance to abortion will be seen as primitive. Concern over the institution of the family will be viewed as untrendy and unenlightened.... Before the ultimate victory of the forces of righteousness, some skirmishes will be lost. Even in these, however, let us leave a record so that the choices are clear, letting others do as they will in the face of prophetic counsel. There will also be times, happily, when a minor defeat seems
probable, but others will step forward, having been rallied to rightness by what we do. We will know the joy, on occasion, of having awakened a slumbering majority of the decent people of all races and creeds which was, till then, unconscious of itself. Jesus said that when the fig trees put forth their leaves, 'summer is nigh.' Thus warned that summer is upon us, let us not then complain of the heat."--- Elder Neal A. Maxwell

Ensign » 1979 » February

I didn't know how to hyperlink it. :)

Salt H2O said...

That is a Great Talk. Thank you for sharing.

joanna said...

Jon and Kory -- thank you thank you for that link. That is an excellent talk, especially considering Elder Maxwell talked about such issues in the 70's.
I'm adding it to my blog tonight.

ray said...

what happened to the "slumbering majority of the decent people" in the general election??

Island School House said...

You Rock Salt H20!! ;o)

Justin and Silvia said...

I really wasn't going to write anything considering I was just blog hoping and recognized a name.... ummm...yeah... interesting comments...very intense on both sides. This comment battle will go on and on and on. Like wise Every two years there will be another proposition, another expensive campaign on both side. But What if there was a third alternative? What if we Separated marriage from the government like they do in Europe and Brazil where everyone gets a Civil Union and then if people want to get Married by a church they can go and get married. The churches can then marry who they want to marry. This way the Government is not make a moral judgment one way or another. This may not be seen as perfect by either side, but a compromise. The alternative is an endless, expensive, emotional draining campaigns on both sides. Just think about. And Cory tell Kyle I say hi

Allie said...

Kory, sorry for the comment so far from when this was posted. I just noticed this on your sidebar and thought I'd look to see if there had been any comments after mine.

One thought I had as I was reading through the comments again, several posters said that we should follow the prophet period. My Mister has a similar view, and I respect those who have had a confirmation of the spirit that the prophet's words are final.

I just haven't had that confirmation. For me, I hear the prophet speak, and usually, I feel the truthfulness of his words immediately. Sometimes I have to pray about it, and in the case of same sex marriage- the only peaceful feelings I found was that I could not support a ban against same sex marriage.

So in saying that I should go against what I believe and "follow the prophet" you're discounting my right to personal revelation. It's not just about blindly following or willfully ignoring the prophet- for some reason it seems that different people get different answers to prayer, and I don't know why that is, but it's not anyone's place to say that another person's answer is right or wrong.

I didn't go out and actively campaign against the church, nor would I, but I think the world and the church is much less black and white than we'd like it to be.

(and I like the last comment- that's the solution I see- that any two willing people of age can get a civil union/whatever you want to call it/contract for legal purposes from the government, and then churches can keep the term "marriage" and perform them for whomever fits their criteria)

Allie said...

(that should have read "actively campaign against the church's position.)

Salt H2O said...

"So in saying that I should go against what I believe and "follow the prophet" you're discounting my right to personal revelation"

Not at all, I think you should go with what you believe. I think everyone should do what they believe. You believe the prophet was wrong, and I respect that- but if you believe the prophet is wrong, why continue to follow a false prophet?

Allie said...

I don't think he's a false prophet, so I can't answer your question.

For me, it's not an all or nothing deal. One of the most amazing things about this church is that God has used humans beings with human weaknesses to bring about such amazing things- it's one of the things that gives me such hope for overcoming my own weaknesses, or maybe even serving others despite my weaknesses.

Salt H2O said...

You and I see the world differently.

If I believed the prophet was wrong about such an important issue, that he did not do the will of God, I'd leave the church because I could not in good consious sustain him as prophet seer and revelator.

I see the world in black in white, you see it in gray- so we'll just have to be content to disagree on this point, but agree entirely on civil unions.

Allie said...

Kory- I have no problem agreeing to disagree with you. I love reading your blog, I love how much you think through things you post about.

(plus you're funny)

I am interested how you view things in church history that seem now to be obvious mistakes (although really, I wouldn't call them mistakes I'd call them church leaders doing the best they knew how at the time). Maybe that's a topic for another post sometime?