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Monday, March 14, 2011

God Reveals Truth Through His Prophets

by Connie Raddon

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

“God Reveals Truth… Through His … Prophets???”

Each month the “Ensign” has a section called “What We Believe”.  In the March 2011 issue, the article in this section is called “God Reveals Truth to His PROPHETS And To Us”.  (There is no specific author for this section – it is put together by the leadership of the church.  They cite “Gospel Principles 2009”, “True to the Faith”, and a talk given by Dallin H. Oaks as recorded in the Nov. 2010 Ensign, as references.)

The article begins, “A prophet is a special witness for Jesus Christ and testifies of His divinity.”

The Bible teaches it is not prophets who are called to witness and testify, but apostles.  In Acts 1:8, Jesus speaks to his apostles saying, “…and you shall be my witnesses, both in Jerusalem and all of Judea, and in Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

Biblically, prophets are those with the gift of prophecy.  After Christ died, He sent the Holy Spirit to be with believers.  Through the Holy Spirit, each believer receives one or more spiritual gifts.  So there are many who are given the gift of prophecy today, not just one person.  The Bible demonstrates this:

Acts 13:1 “Now there were at Antioch, in the church that was there, prophets and teachers:”

1 Corinthians 12:4-10  “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.  And there are also varieties of ministries, and the same Lord.  There are varieties of effect, but the same God who works in all things in all persons.  But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.  For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy…”

Jesus explains that some of these gifts are greater than others.  The LDS church has them out of order.

1 Corinthians 12:28 “And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations…”

The greatest is to be an apostle – one called to go out and testify as a special witness of the resurrected Christ.  The second is to be a prophet – which can either mean having the gift of foretelling future events, or the gift of understanding the Word of God with clarity and speaking it with power.
Notice how “administrations” of the church are much further down on the list? 

The Mormon church names their president as a prophet (who is responsible for the administrations of the church), claims there is only one prophet (who may or may not demonstrate the gift of prophecy), and calls apostles to work within the church – giving talks and assisting in administration (none of which claim to have a special witness of the resurrected Christ, nor do they go out from their homes to preach to the unbelievers), and placing the prophet above the apostles.  None of this is biblical.

The article continues, “God calls a prophet to be His representative on earth… Prophets are on the earth today just as they were anciently”

God had prophets as His representatives only under the OLD covenant.  Those who believe there are living prophets today to lead God’s people have a severe misunderstanding of what the difference is between the Old and the New Testaments.

The Bible that all the Law and all the prophets testified up until John the Baptist.  They were testifying of the person who came right after John – Jesus Christ!  Now that Christ has come, there is no more need for the Law or the prophets, because God speaks to us by His son, Jesus Christ.

Matthew 11:13 “For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John.”

Hebrews 1:1-2 “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things…”

God’s Word, (The Bible) is complete, infallible, and totally sufficient for us.  If anyone claims that God is speaking to His church through them today, they might as well wear a huge sign that says, “I AM A FALSE PROPHET!”

And yet in this article, the LDS leaders claim, “When the prophet speaks for God, it is as if God is speaking.”

My entire life as a Mormon (41 years), I looked to the LDS prophet and apostles for guidance.  I almost never missed a session of conference so I could be edified and encouraged by their words.  I believed with all my heart that the prophet was speaking to me for God.  Then I turned to God in prayer to help me be worthy and obey the things that the prophet had spoken about.  I read the church magazines every month – as a teen, I read “The New Era”, and as an adult, “The Ensign”.  I thought I was keeping God’s words close to my mind.  If I believed I was living worthily, I was filled with self righteousness and pride when I listened to the prophet speak.  It was like he was giving me a huge pat on the back.  But if he spoke on a particular sin that I believed I was guilty of, I felt shame.  There was absolutely no comfort – no rest – no peace.  I had to just keep working as hard as I could to reach the light that was at the end of the tunnel (after this life).

Now I’ve learned that the LDS prophets cannot provide comfort, peace, forgiveness, mercy, or eternal life.  I have cleared all the obstacles out that stood between me and Christ – the bishop, the stake president, and all other LDS leaders, including the prophet.  I have a direct, personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  There is peace and forgiveness in Christ that I never knew existed.  I want all Mormons to get it! 

Anyway, the article goes on to say,  “…the most common way God communicates with us is through the quiet spiritual promptings of the Holy Ghost.  Through personal revelation we can receive strength and answer to our prayers.”

There are two huge problems with this belief.  1)  The Bible does NOT teach it, and 2) it denies the purpose of God’s Word!  God communicates with us through – the WORD! 

First, I was always taught that I had to learn how to feel these “spiritual promptings”.  Time and time again I had warm feelings in my chest when I prayed about different things. For all I know, I created them myself.  But I believed I was being led by the Holy Ghost – that He was confirming the truth of what I was praying about. 

Here is the problem.  This is also the way that Muslims get confirmation that Allah is the one true God, and that their holy book is the most correct book on the earth, and that God’s will for them is bring his kingdom to earth by killing all those who don’t believe the way they do.   Who is right, the Mormon or the Muslim?  They both got confirmation by feeling “spiritual promptings”.   I know as a Mormon, I believed I was right just because I KNEW I was right.  I was being very self-centered and arrogant by having that belief.  It only served to keep my eyes closed and my nose turned up to hearing anything other than what my “church” taught me.

The Bible warns about trusting our feelings, hearts, or emotions.  They are evil.  They are fickle.  They can be easily manipulated by our circumstances, Satan, or even us.

Matthew 15:19  “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.”

Proverbs 28:26  “He who follows his heart is a fool.  But he who walks in wisdom is kept safe.”

We ‘follow our hearts’ by trusting spiritual promptings to confirm truth.  We ‘walk in wisdom’ by studying God’s word.   

I understand that God can use our feelings – he can move us and guide us with promptings.  But he will NEVER confirm TRUTH that way. 

Jesus never suggested to his disciples, or to anyone to pray about what He was teaching.  In fact, in much of His teachings, He quoted from the Old Testament.  If it’s good enough for Jesus, shouldn’t it be good enough for us?

The LDS church teaches that everyone who is a member of the LDS church and has received “the gift of the Holy Ghost” through the LDS priesthood can receive personal revelation.  This article says, “Keep the commandments so you can be worthy to receive inspiration from the Holy Ghost.”

Well, as an LDS woman, I wanted to have personal revelation and inspiration in my life.  I was taught that any time I needed to make an important decision, I should ponder in my mind what to do – come to a decision on my own, and then pray about whether it was the right thing to do or not.  I did this many times.  And when I felt a warm feeling, I believed it was the Holy Ghost confirming that my decision was correct.  In other words, I had received “personal revelation”. 

The problem was that I knew that no one was perfect – including me.  So to some extent, my sin could be making me not worthy, or not “in tune” with the Holy Ghost, making me less able to receive or interpret any kind of personal revelation.  I never really knew to what extent my sin was blocking the Holy Ghost from me.  Many times I felt I had received confirmation about a decision, and went ahead with it.  Then if things didn’t work out, I would always be second guessing myself: “Did I misunderstand the revelation?”  “Was I unworthy to receive the personal revelation I thought I received?”  “Was I only 80% worthy, and therefore only got 80% of the revelation?”  “Was I completely off, and don’t really understand how to interpret the revelation of the Holy Ghost?” etc. etc. etc.

There was no peace.  

There was no comfort. 

The only way to have complete peace and comfort would have been to not care whether I was pleasing God or not – but I did care, so I lived in a nagging turmoil.

In August 2009, I was born again, receiving the true Jesus Christ, and finding true peace.

On May 18, 1873 (as recorded in the Journal of Discourses, Vol. 16 p. 46), Brigham Young issued a challenge:  “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 2011 issue of the Ensign, the LDS religion fails this test.