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Monday, March 12, 2012

Sustain Church Leaders and Follow The Prophet


“We Sustain Our Leaders”
Compared to the Bible by Connie Raddon


Color Key:
Quotes from the Ensign in blue.
Quotes from the Bible in red.
All my own words are black.

One of the monthly sections of the Ensign is called “What We Believe”.  In the March 2012 issue, this article is entitled “We Sustain Our Leaders”.  It is found on page 8-9.

The article begins, “Latter-day Saints believe that Jesus Christ Himself is the head of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  He calls, through inspiration, prophets and apostles to lead His Church.”

Growing up LDS, I was taught to follow the prophet’s councel at virtually all costs if I wanted to be worthy of … well, everything I needed to be worthy of:  taking the sacrament each Sunday, holding a calling, attending the temple, having the Holy Ghost with me, and ultimately earning my eternal salvation. 

Following a prophet’s councel is not what the Bible teaches.  The Bible says that God used prophets to speak to His people only up until John.  After that, Jesus came. 

Hebrews 1:1-2 “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets… in these last days has spoken to us in His Son…”

We have the direct words from Jesus in the Bible to lead us now.  And Jesus said we can trust it because it will not pass away.

Matthew 24:35 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.” This was Jesus speaking.

When Jesus died, the veil in the temple was torn in half from the top to the bottom – in other words, it was torn by God.  That veil is what separated the inner temple from the Holy of Holies, where only the high priest could go to intercede between the people and God.  With that veil gone, the Holy of Holies is open for everyone.  Now believers can all have one on one direct contact with God.  So we have no more need of a prophet to speak to us for God.

The Ensign article explains five ways to follow the LDS leaders:
1.       We sustain the General Authorities of the Church
2.      We can show, by raising our hands, that we will sustain our local leaders and others who are called to serve us.  (In Church meetings, the congregation is sometimes asked to sustain the leaders by raising the right hand to show that they are in agreement.)
3.      We sustain our leaders by following their counsel.
4.      We sustain our leaders by accepting callings, for callings are extended to us “by those who are in authority” (Articles of Faith 1:5)
5.      We sustain our leaders by praying for them.

A different article in this same Ensign demonstrates a couple’s dedication to the LDS Church leaders.  The name of this article is “Follow the Prophet” written by Randall K. Bennett, Of the Seventy. 

In the weeks leading up to our engagement, Shelley and I had spent significant time talking about how we wanted to raise our family and what we wanted our marriage to be like.  One of the things at the center of that discussion was our determination to always follow the prophet.

Two months before we were engaged, we listened to lots of talks at the October 1976 general conference reinforcing the principles of self-reliance. 

…After our engagement, as Shelley and I contemplated the beginning of our marriage and family life, these messages were ringing in our ears.  Unbeknownst to each other, both of us were thinking about how to start home storage for our family.  To obey the counsel of that time, we needed to start acquiring a year’s supply of food.

They decided to sell her engagement ring to start their one year supply of food storage.  The article goes on to explain how good they feel about their decision.

In the years since, we have been blessed in many other ways by heeding the prophetic word.  We have learned not to question the validity of what the prophets and apostles teach or to wonder if it makes sense.

The Bible teaches that we SHOULD question the validity of what anyone calling themselves a prophet says.  The Bible says we SHOULD wonder if it makes sense.  Paul, an apostle called directly by Jesus Christ, was teaching the Bereans about Jesus.  He taught them that the Messiah had come, had died, and was now resurrected.  They didn’t take him at his own word, nor did they pray about it to get a burning in the bosom to know if it was true.  They studied their scriptures to see if what Paul was saying lined up with the Word of God.  Paul praised their study and called them noble-minded.

Acts 17:11 “Now these [the Bereans] were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.”

Bennett continues, “Some might call our actions blind obedience.  But we have the Lord’s personal promise that the prophets will never lead us astray.”

Mr. Bennett, I challenge you and all LDS people to be like the Bereans, and study the Bible to see whether these things are so. 



The teachings in the March 2012 issue of the Ensign
are NOT Biblical, and therefore,
NOT consistent with Christian beliefs.


Brigham Young issued a challenge on May 18, 1873 (as recorded in the Journal of Discourses, Vol. 16 p. 46):  “Take up the Bible, compare the religion of the Latter Day Saints with it, and see if it will stand the test.”

I have accepted that challenge from Brigham Young.

In the March 2012 issue of the Ensign, the LDS religion FAILS this test.



Resources used for this article:
The Word of God (The Bible
The LDS magazine, “The Ensign”
My research partner, Art Haglund.

Thank you also to my husband, Ken, who sacrifices time with me while I study and write, and provides proofreading and editing services!

7 comments:

  1. perhaps you could try doing something positive with your life. It always amazes me that people actually take time to try to destroy others they do not agree with. Look close at how often the lds church tears apart other religions and how often they work with other faiths and I think you will see that your idea of Christ is flawed beyond belief. fell free to continue wasting your little life. I am sure it is quite exciting to put others down. Small minds deal in people.

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  2. Each church interprets the Bible differently. That is why there are so many different Christian churches out there. Your interpretation is different then my interpretation (yes, I am LDS). If we all interpreted the bible the same, there would only be ONE Christian church, right? Why say Mormons don’t follow the bible when it is easy to see the LDS church is structures the EXACT same way Jesus structured His church when he was on the Earth. We have a prophet, apostles, the priesthood. All of which are outlined in the Bible. You missed what the article was really addressing in the Ensign which was that we sustain (support, help out, uphold) are church leaders and you chose to focus specifically that we have a living prophet today. You said “we have no more need of a prophet,” but why would God desire His people to have a prophet in ancient times and not in these days?! If anything, we are in more need of a prophet now! God and Jesus love us just as much as he loved the people of ancients times and therefore has restored His church upon the Earth today (just as he did back then). Yes, we can each communicate with God individually and receive revelation for ourselves, but we have to have a prophet to communicate with God to receive revelation for His church. Since you are a former member of the church, I can see why you have chosen the LDS church to proselytize that Mormons don’t follow the bible, but really, you should be comparing all Christian religions and interpretations of the bible.

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  3. Danielle,
    Thank you for your response. Although we don’t agree, I want to pay you a compliment – your response was very thoughtful and respectful. You pointed out where you believe I was in error, and posed some very good questions. You also recognized my reason for reaching out to Mormons (the fact that I was one). Calm, rational, honest responses like yours are quite rare in my experience, so thank you!!

    You know that I was Mormon – very active – taught gospel doctrine, was in RS and YW presidencies, and was the Primary President, as well as attended the temple regularly – sometimes weekly. I never questioned anything – it all seemed to make perfect sense to me, and I had no doubts. Several years ago I came across someone doing something similar to what I am doing – comparing Mormonism to Biblical Christianity. He irritated me, and I wanted to dig deeper to mostly know that he was wrong, but partly to see if perhaps he was right. I learned a LOT. Since I used to believe as you do, I want to share some things I learned regarding what you mentioned:

    1. There are indeed many thousands of different denominations in Christianity. Some are run by false prophets and false teachers with false doctrines. The majority, however agree on the core doctrines. Personally, I have attended five different denominations. They ALL agree 100% on the core doctrines of Christianity – those being the Bible is the infallible, complete scripture, God is triune, we are creations of God adopted into his family after we are born again, and we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus alone. The differences are the size of the congregations, the distance from my home, the style of worhip/ music, the outreaches, and Bible study groups. The doctrine is exactly the same – it’s the Bible. I have found that once people really learn how to study it – in context with regard to culture, language, history, and the rest of the Bible – there are no differences in interpretation, except on very small minute points.

    cont...

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  4. 2. The LDS structure is actually nothing like what Jesus set up on the earth. Jesus became the final prophet – there are still people with the gift of prophecy, but there is no longer a “prophet” as an office. Second, his apostles were preachers – the word means “sent one”. They did not govern the administrations of any organization – they travelled around teaching about the risen Christ. The requirement was that they must have actually seen Jesus in the flesh after His resurrection, and all but Paul knew Him well before His death. As for the priesthood, Jesus Christ alone can hold the Melchizedek priesthood. This completely replaced the Aaronic priesthood because the Aaronic was only meant to point towards Christ, and make annual atonements for sin until Jesus made the final atonement. (Read Hebrews – especially chapter 7 and 9)
    3. Why would God not have a prophet speak for Him today? Because He gave us something better! – The new covenant. The Holy Ghost never resided inside people permanently in the OT. It was upon them, around them, beside them, and inside them very temporarily (Samson). Jesus fulfilled the old covenant, and brought the new one – where the Holy Ghost resides permanently inside every believer who is born again. So God is the prophet – the Holy Ghost is like a little “speaker” inside every believer. God can speak and we all hear – without anyone in between. Actually, God’s people did not always have prophets in the OT either – once Joshua took them into the promised land, they had judges – not prophets for years and years. Then there was the reign of the kings for many years. Prophets lived also, during the reign of the kings, but not residing over God’s people – like the LDS “office”.
    4. You are right – there are many churches that claim to be Christian, that just are not. It would be a huge task to compare and contrast them all to Biblical Christianity. And I don’t know enough about all of them, so I’m sure God has others who are in those areas. One thing that all heretical doctrines have in common is that they deny or at least minimize the depravity of man, and they minimize the saving grace of Christ.

    Once again, thank you for your comments, and you are welcome to add in any time!

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  5. What a load of rubbish. We all know that this and other sites are all linked to Wendy Jensen and her butt sucking followers. Get a life, you could not cut it has Mormons so you try to pull Mormons down. You cann yourselves Christians, well your not. You don't show Love, you may be able to spell and say it but you will never show it. ~ Suz

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  6. As an active, practicing, gospel doctrine teacher, sealed in the temple, card-carrying Mormon, I'm saddened by the replies to your blog post. We all find God in different ways, and as a convert to the church, a principle taught by our church, and as evidenced by the first prophet of the Restoration, if we have questions, we are counseled to look to God for answers. We also believe in personal revelation, and if your questions to God have been answered in a different way from mine, how can I take that away from you? There is a place for all of us in this life. We are all children of God with different gifts, abilities, and knowledge. I appreciate that you have taken the time to ponder out your place, and if you are moved to explore the gospel of Jesus Christ in a way different than me, well, at least you are trying to find your place. So many members never question their place, they just go along with it because that is what they are told to do. That is stagnation, that is NOT a path of progression--another principle of Mormon faith.

    I found this blog because in two weeks I have to give a talk in Sacrament about "following with exactness the leaders of the church", and that's what I googled. This was the first result. This is a tough one for me, and I'm very aware that it was assigned to me because of my openness lately in advocating for LGBT issues, and marriage equality. This is a way to back me into a corner, and force my hand. I can see the writing on the wall. However, the leader of this church is ultimately the Savior, and HIS word/s are those that I cling to. He came and gave us two great commandments: love God, and love our neighbors as we love ourselves. This trumps anything else for me. I know our church leaders serve in roles that are to help us to strengthen our faith. And you know what else? They are imperfect humans the same as the rest of us! I have prayed about, and received confirmation, and PERSONAL revelation that my role in this life is OK in God's eyes, and I will continue to pursue my path. Just like you, the blog author, I am a child of God and am trying my best to act in accordance with the personal revelation I have received from God. You always have a place beside me in my pew. And if not there, on my couch. Shame on church members for the ugliness and vitriol towards others who may have received a different calling and path in life. We all have worth in the eyes of God.

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    Replies
    1. Dana, thanks for your kind words! You are welcome in God's pew next to me, as well as my couch, too!

      Good luck with your talk. I can see why it would be a tough one for you.

      If you would ever like to visit over lunch, email me - I'd love to chat. E-mail: mormontochristian@gmail.com

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