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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!