What’s the Scripturefulness Level of Conference?

A few weeks ago, our ward’s Relief Society did a lesson on the fourteen fundamentals of following the prophet. As a result, I now have a copy of them hanging on my refrigerator. Putting away the leftover cheesecake after last night’s games of Magic, my eyes caught on #3: “The living prophet is more important to us than a dead prophet.”

With General Conference (is that supposed to be capitalized?) nigh at hand, I got to wondering how we treat the words of the living prophets as compared to those of the dead prophets. So here’s my informal survey for y’all:

  1. Would you count reading conference talks as “scripture study”?
  2. Do you read regularly read conference talks as part of your scripture study?

102 comments for “What’s the Scripturefulness Level of Conference?

  1. My own answers are “yes” and “no”. What’s up with that? Come on Dane, make your actions consistent with your views!

  2. No and No.

    They are not scripture because I believe that scripture must be sustained by the general body of the Church as such. I read the scriptures for my study and refer to GC talks at times during that process.

  3. A guy in our ward has gone so far as to preach on two occasions that we should study the conference issue of the Ensign INSTEAD of the scriptures. That isn’t the first time we’ve disagreed (although my answers are “sort of” and “sort of” rather than an outright no).

    But I recognize this post as an April Fool’s prank. Whoever had leftover cheesecake to put away? Hm?

  4. Good one, Ardis.

    I’m an outright “no” and “no” on these questions. Do I love reading the conference talks even after I’ve heard them? Yes. Do I refer to them in FHE lessons? Yes. But the conference talks absolutely do not replace my scripture study.

  5. No and no.
    When I think of “dead” prophets, I think of Joseph Smith (outside of the D&C) through Pres. Hinckley – not the ones who are “canonized” in scripture. My ranking of the Lord’s authorized word would be: 1) living prophets 2) scriptures, 3) dead prophets (Bro. Joseph through Pres. Hinckley).

  6. 1 Yes.
    2 No.

    I don’t think they should take the place of reading and studying the standard works, but they are a good supplement.

    In the words of President Benson when he gave the talk containing the 14 fundamentals:

    “The most important reading we can do is any of the words of the prophet contained each month in our Church Magazines. Our instructions about what we should do for each six months are found in the General Conference addresses which are printed in the Church magazine.”

  7. Yes, and yes. But treating conference talks as scripture for those purposes doesn’t mean its the same as scripture for all purposes.

    We don’t have General Conference Quote Mastery, for instance.

    “Scripturefulness” is good stuff, by the way.

  8. First: Ardis: excellent.

    Limited yes and no. Particularly family scripture study. It’s hard enough to get the kids to sit through the talks ONCE, let alone a later reading of them.

    I think conference talks influence my gospel study.

  9. It’s funny, on further reflection my answers are actually “no” and “no”. Ten years ago I felt strongly that (GC talks == scripture), and I hadn’t revisited that assumption until just now. But, then again, I don’t necessarily think that all scripture is scripture either. I think I’ll have to come back to this again.

  10. Dane,

    read your “I don’t necessarily think that all scripture is scripture” quote to the missionaries in our branch. They tell me the MTC told them to staple Song of Solomon closed.

  11. I’m pretty sure the Song of Solomon is scripture, no matter what the footnotes say… :)

  12. Yes, but only for about two days after Wed. Heck of a lot easier to read.

    I do study the Song of Solomon often, particularly since I’m single . . .

  13. I will go with sort of and sort of. Sometimes, I don’t want to read (or listen to MP3s of) the scriptures. I figure it is better to listen to a Conference talk than not study the scriptures.

    I agree with Dane that even some of what is officially canonized as scripture is not scripture. Mormon admitted that there may be mistakes and that we would be more wise than he is we found them.

    To be more clear I believe D&C 64:4
    And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation.

    That goes for the standard works, GC talks, Sacrament talks or spontaneous conversation. As far as reconciling differences in all these I like the order of “1) living prophets 2) scriptures, 3) dead prophets (Bro. Joseph through Pres. Hinckley)” That being said, I must have the Spirit so that I can discern what is right as well as what truths are more important to emphasize.

  14. What is the difference between dead prophets and scriptures? And as most of us know, the Fourteen Fundamentals speech was not given in General Conference and it upset SWK (the LIVING prophet at the time) quite a bit. Ezra Taft actually offered to retract it. Hardly sounds inspired to me!

  15. Yes and yes.

    The real question is how do you apply these questions to the bloggernacle. My answers are no and yes…just in case Dane thought one couldn’t get any more incongruous than his first answer.

  16. “What is the difference between dead prophets and scriptures?”

    From what I understand, the scriptures are the canonized teachings of (usually) dead prophets. I think the reference to dead prophets here refers to extra scriptural teachings of dead prophets.

  17. I’m interested in Suleiman’s question, “What is the difference between dead prophets and scriptures?” I don’t have a good answer. As Rich points out, the technical difference is canonization, but the canonization process has been so inconsistently applied over the past 4,000 years that it’s hard for me to lean too heavily on that. So, for those of you who draw a sharp line between “scriptures” and “General Conference talks”, let me ask a follow up question — what makes an address worthy of being read as scripture? For example, Paul was never “The Prophet” (and perhaps was never even a member of the Quorum of the Twelve), yet the placement of his words in the Bible lends them greater weight than anything that was ever taught by, say, George Albert Smith (whom I’ve never heard referenced as a doctrinal authority). What’s up with that? Is it like the Mormon Doctrine phenomenon, where we automatically grant authoritative status to anything claiming authority?

  18. To me, the most important teachings (doctrines) are the ones the church emphasizes most. So with that standard, what are we to conclude? Here is a partial list ordered by importance.

    – Sacrament prayers
    – Primary answers (pray, read the scriptures (esp the Book of Mormon), go to church, etc)
    – Home/Visiting teaching. Ministering to each other as if we were (a loving) family is important.
    – General Conference talks. I also see the importance strengthened by them being used for fourth Sunday priesthood and relief society lessons and in other cases.
    – Subjects and objectives of church manuals.

    Given this spontaneous list we can see what is our doctrine. What parts of the scriptures do we emphasize? That is more important than defining whether GC talks are scripture or not.

    I agree that the process of canonization has been less than perfect. I can see, though, that in our church the most bitter branches are progressively being pruned out so that the natural branches can grow in their place and bear fruit. Jac 5:57-60

  19. In “The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter” pg 212, he says: “Our modern-day prophets have encouraged us to make the reading of the conference editions of our Church magazines an important and regular part of our personal study. Thus, general conference becomes, in a sense, a supplement to or an extension of the Doctrine and Covenants.”

  20. I think for certain corners of the bloggernacle the question of “what is scripture” is answered as follows:

    stuff I agree with: scripture
    stuff I don’t agree with: not scripture

    Pretty simple.

  21. 1. No. Equating Conference talks with scripture ignores the important issue of canonization.

    2. No. In terms of content, I don’t find that Conference talks have much to offer for serious scripture study. Or even for casual scripture study.

  22. The question is too broad. If the question is limited to talks from First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, the answer to (1) has to be Yes–otherwise, the whole concept of modern prophets really takes a hit.

    I’m not so sure that that applies to the other talks, though. As inspired and inspiring as they might be, we haven’t sustained them as prophets, seers and revelators, so I’m not sure how they’d fit into the category of scripture without some sort of canonization/approval from those who we have.

  23. RT, even for talks from the First Presidency the answer isn’t necessarily “yes” — look at the responses so far, particularly the repeated observation that the talks aren’t canonized. Does canonization count for something? I mean, if a conference talk were to be accepted as D&C 139, does that give it more weight than it had as just a conference talk? Does it make a difference at that point who gave the talk?

  24. Conference talks are not scripture. They are conference talks, not necessarily words spoken as moved upon by the Holy Ghost. They are written, albeit with various degrees of inspiration, and spoken as moved upon by a teleprompter. Some have been repudiated, in whole or part (e.g., Poelman, Packer). Some text has been “entered into the record” after having been repudiated by previous prophets (e.g., 14 Points).

    To accept all conference talks as scripture, we would have to accept talks given by (gasp!) women as scripture. There are no known works by women in the canon.

    We have a personal responsibility to determine whether words spoken in conference, or elsewhere by GAs (or others) are the will and mind of the Lord. Since this is exceedingly difficult, many of us default to

    1) everything spoken in Conference is scripture.
    2) things I agree with are scripture.

  25. #29, I agree. There is an obvious, formal definition of what scripture is. It is the standard works. They have been sustained by the leaders and the body of the saints.

    That being said, I don’t think you can disagree that some conference talks (and even other sources like 1st Pres messages, etc) are used, taught and referred to more than much of the standard works.

    So whether GC are considered scripture formally or not, they have more influence on the whole of the saints than a large part of the scriptures.

    #28, Yes canonization does count for something. It puts it above the influence of many succeeding GC conference talks. Think about Section 138. It has influenced the church very much so in the many decades it has been canonized. Canonization means to me that these teachings are important for many generations to come not just to us right now, this year or even this decade.

    If someone uses a conference talk from 20 or 40 or 90 years ago; if it conflicts with the current teachings of the church, I go with the current teachings. To me that is what revelation is for.

    #27, I agree to a limit. They are not the same as if they were canonized, but they are very important and hold more authority than the other talks given in GC. Yet, nearly always, that distinction is not necessary. The GC talks are very much in harmony with each other.

  26. I consider most conference talks scripture–inspired writings/speeches. (But I also consider The Brothers Karamazove and MLK’s I Have a Dream as scripture.) I think conference talks are worth reading and studying, along with the Ensign and official statements on the public relations department, to understand what the leadership of the Church, and its correlated departments, believes is significant.

  27. The difference between general conference talks and scripture is that teachings from the former can easily be revised / discarded as circumstances dictate, whereas when something is canonized it better be right the first time, because it is not going away.

    To rise to the authority of scripture, a doctrine must be officially taught by the church – and that means the FP and Q12 must generally be unanimously in favor. Not every passage in a GC talk rises to that level of unanimity, and thus cannot be claimed to be a doctrine of the church, let alone canonical scripture. Some, for all practical purposes, can be.

  28. “As Harold B. Lee said, “It is not to be thought that every word spoken by the General Authorities is inspired, or that they are moved upon by the Holy Ghost in everything they write.” To claim that anything taught in general conference is “official” doctrine, notes J. F. McConkie, “makes the place where something is said rather than what is said the standard of truth. Nor is something doctrine simply because it was said by someone who holds a particular office or position. Truth is not an office or a position to which one is ordained.”

    That is from this and I quite agree with it. We really need to get over ourselves and the adulation we give our leaders.

  29. No and No.

    I just don’t get the whole idea/belief of the “living prophet being more important to us than a dead prophet” when Conference is full of quotes of dead prophets.

    Go figure.

  30. All – President Monson answered this question pretty clearly – General Conference talks are not bound and included in the Scriptures as part of the Standard Works. having said that, read his words in closing the Oct 2010 general conference
    “My brothers and sisters, my heart is full as we bring to a close this wonderful general conference of the Church. We have been spiritually fed as we have listened to the counsel and testimonies of those who have participated in each session. I am certain I speak for all members everywhere when I express deep appreciation for the truths we have been taught. We could echo the words, found in the Book of Mormon, of those who heard the sermon of the great King Benjamin and “cried with one voice, saying: Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent.” 1

    I hope that we will take the time to read the conference talks, which will be reprinted in the November issue of the Ensign and Liahona magazines, for they are deserving of our careful study.”

    Those are the words of our living prophet, and thos words are good enough for me.

  31. To Ellis, Suzie and Homer – the answers to the 2 questions at the start of this discussion are 1 – yes and 2 – yes as the quote above from Pres Monson makes clear. It is not about adulation of leaders – it is about the challenge of Alma 32 – give the words a chance, try them in your life, and ask God if they are true, in the name of Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost will tell you the words are true and bless you with the Spirit and the blessings from living the gospel. Surely the scofflaws at Sunstone, Dialogue and Signature Press will mock from their suites in the great and spacious building, but humble seekers after truth will find the tree of life and enjoy its fruit, the love of God and exaltation with him forever

  32. Chuck, I take it that most people on the thread are responding to the issue of whether reading conference talks should be considered an acceptable *substitute* for scripture study of the canon. In the quote you cited President Monson stressed the value of conference talks and encouraged members to re-read them, but he didn’t say that this reading should replace our study of the scriptures.

    As for the survey, I’m Yes (to me scripture study just means gospel study) and Sometimes.

  33. Chuck:

    And clearly you fall in among those self professed “humble seekers”. Way to castigate huge swaths of people simply because they might belong to one organization or another which you apparently think are mired in the mists of darkness along your expressway to the “love of God.”

    If that’s the love of God, as you see it, then there’s a lot more we could disagree on.

  34. Canonized scriptures generally apply to all.
    General conference talks can be a part of that in my opinion, but more specifically they apply to those whom they were given. Both those who the were directed at and those who read them later and receive a witness of through the Holy Ghost.

    I like to think of those things as Scripture as the ones you have received a confirmation of by the Holy Ghost in your heart (or ones you would have received but were too hard hearted to do so).

    But the premise of this post is somewhat Pharisaical is it not? Let’s try to break down and quantify or determine what applies and doesn’t apply. It’s kind of like the wave particle duality. The more you try to classify what applies and doesn’t apply the more you find things change, while still having to hold to all those other things as true.

  35. I read conference talks as part of my regular scripture study with particular emphasis on those of the Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators. I consider them scripture, but in addition to rather than in place of the Standard Works.

  36. Chuck, I read the quote and your kind of dramatic last post. President Monson (like other presidents in the past) just counseled the membership to read the conference talks.I don’t think anyone is arguing the point. Now, from that to say they are SCRIPTURE, is a total different story.

  37. Yes, and yes.

    I count study of the conference talks as scripture study primarily because I use them to regularly supplement my topical study of the scriptures. I believe that we sustain 15 men to be prophets and I don’t recall ever listening to conference and not feeling that they were speaking the mind and will of the Lord. I also notice how intertwined the talks are and how often two or three of the brethren will give discourses that echo and expand the messages being delivered. In fact “By the mouth of two or three witnesses shall all truth be established”.

    I believe that yesterday I heard both Elder Holland and Pres Monson state that we should study the words of this conference. Elder Holland invoked the “tongues of angels” analogy with the messages delivered at conferences…….by the mouth of two witnesses…….

  38. First – what is scripture? There is an excellent definition in accepted cannon – D& C 68:4

    4And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the bpower of God unto salvation.

    So what did the living prophet of God think of conference talks?

    In case you missed it, here are his words –

    Following is the address President Thomas S. Monson delivered as he brought to a close the 181st Annual General Conference of the Church on Sunday afternoon, April 3.

    My brothers and sisters, my heart is full as we come to the close of this conference. We have felt the Spirit of the Lord in rich abundance. I express my appreciation and that of members of the Church everywhere to each one who has participated, including those who have offered prayers. May we long remember the messages we have heard. As we receive the issues of the Ensign and Liahona magazines which will contain these messages in written form, may we read and study them.

    So here we have the man whom active church members sustain as the living prophet of God, and he tells us –

    “We have felt the Spirit of the Lord in rich abundance.”

    He then continues – “May we long remember the messages we have heard. As we receive the issues of the Ensign and Liahona magazines which will contain these messages in written form, may we read and study them.”

    Now I don’t know about you, but it sure sounds to me like Pres. Monson thinks those words from conference were divinely inspired – and that’s good enough.

    Are conference talks “scripture”? I say yes, based on the definition in the Doctrine and Conference and the repeated testimony of Pres. Monson. Are conference talks authorized canon and bound with the Standard Works? Of course not 0 but that was not the question.

    By the definition of the D & C and the testimony of the living prophet, inspired conference talks are scripture – seems pretty clear to me. Are there exceptions, talks that are revised,etc? Yes, very rarely – and I suspect reading the closing remarks of the living prophet at thoise sessions, if the prophet was there, might prove insightful.

    So as a general rule, I maintain I am solid ground and well within the spirit of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

  39. I am opposed to the very idea that conference talks are scripture. We must not neglect our individual responsibility to DISCERN the words of our leaders by scriptural standards, and not just automatically assume they are right in all things. There is so very much said, in conference speeches, that reflects the “philosophies of men mingled with scripture.” Only those who actually study their scriptures and are led by the Holy Ghost seem to be aware of this. The doctrine of infallibility, which states that the Lord will never allow the president of the church to lead us astray, is a contrived doctrine that does not originate in scripture, and it opposes all that Joseph Smith and Brigham Young taught on the subject.

  40. A statement by Brigham Young: “I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken that influence they could give to their leaders, did they know for themselves, by the revelations of Jesus, that they are led in the right way. Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not” (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe [1941], 135).

  41. A child of Languatron and Aaron Cox?

    Do you have a newsletter, Chuck? I would like to subscribe.

  42. I think the inclusion of the word “Languatr*n” in my previous comment got it sent to the mod queue.

    Please, Chuck, continue.

  43. Whoa, Chuck, ease up on the comment blitz and the all caps. It makes you look a little wacko. Give the rest of us some time (maybe a couple of days) to digest your nuggets of wisdom.

  44. Well, I appreciate this opportunity to bear my testimony of the GOSPEL. There’s no such thing as a testimony of the truthfulness of a church that has long gone into apostasy. And, by the way, where is the scriptural precedent for a prophet who goes before the people and testifies “I know this church is true”? You don’t find that particular pattern anywhere, in any age, in all of scripture. What you DO find, however, are prophets continually reminding the church of her unsanctified and unholy state, warning her of things to come, and even when she’s in a righteous state they NEVER testify of her righteousness. To the scriptural prophets, the church is not, and has never been, the Light to point to! It was always viewed as just an unsanctified body seeking to do the work of the Lord. Alma was the president of the church, in his day, and even he never said “I know this church is true!” These scriptural patterns are important.

  45. If we don’t allow ourselves to actually be influenced by the patterns and doctrines of our scriptures, then what good are they? Are they not the “iron rod”. And I ask you, what did Nephi say we had to hold to? The iron rod! Where, in all our covenant making, is it ever mentioned that we are to hold to any particular man? No, our covenants are based on obeying the gospel, not any man; or in other words, the iron rod. We discern men WITH the iron rod in mind. We uphold men IF they comply with the requirements of their office. We withdraw our support from them if they have tried to become a light unto themselves. That is the pattern of righteousness, in all ages. Jeremiah was a prophet who was sent from OUTSIDE the ancient church. He prophesied against the OFFICIAL PROPHETS who had prophetic office in the church, but were leading the people astray. Here, again, is an important pattern for us to regard. Most of the prophets, in all of scripture, were sent from the outside, while the official prophets had become the perpetrators of apostasy among the people.

  46. So, as you can see, all prophets need to be discerned, no matter whether they are an “official” prophet holding office in the church, or just a man who claims to have the spirit of prophecy, like Jeremiah, and Lehi, etc. Prophetic office can be abused as easily as anything else. That’s the very reason why the law of common consent was established by Joseph – he understood that it is the people’s responsibilty to be in tune with the Spirit, to recognize when leadership begins to falter, and to correct that situation by VOTING THEM OUT. If you knew the history of the church, you would realize all this.

  47. One time, Joseph presented his brother, Hyrum, before the people, and he wanted them to accept Hyrum as the president of the church. He was asking this of the people, because he wanted to free himself up to concentrate on other duties pertaining to his (Joseph’s) office as the head of the priesthood. You see, the president of the church is only supposed to be the head of the priesthood within the church. The church was not the only priesthood organization that Joseph created; and Joseph is the head of the dispensation. Brigham Young said that the church had been given all the keys she needs to fulfill her mission, but that she never did possess all the keys that Joseph possessed.

  48. I guess I got a little carried away. It was early this morning and I couldn’t sleep. I’ll just make one comment at a time, next time, and give people time to respond. Didn’t mean to offend, if I did. Thanks for your kindness, if I didn’t.

  49. Chuck,

    Your comment on #48 above is the key. Each of us has to have the testimony by the Spirit that the 15 men we sustain as prophets seers and revelators are indeed what they claim to be. I have that testimony so I take seriously, their words. In the oath and covenant of the priesthood it states that we are to “live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God” and we should always remember the fact that “what I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken ….whether by the mouth of my own voice or by the MOUTH of my SERVANTS it is the same.”

    Once we have that testimony then we definitely can accept what is said in conference as scripture. Study is the key word and you laid it out when you talked about D&C 9 in your responses above. we have to study it out and we have to feel in our heart and minds that it is true. Just because you are looking for more gospel meet and less milk does not mean that the church as a whole is prepared and ready for those things. I often find that there are many subjects that I have found by scripture study are not for general discussion at meetings completely open to the public. There are things that I have read or studied that have never seen discussed from the public pulpit. I know because I search for them and I find little or no relevant information.

    Growth towards a Zion society is just that…”Line upon line and precept upon precept”. Some members of the church are too new (or too passivated into a false sense of carnal security by the whisperings of the Devil to the things of the world, or they rage with anger when their own gospel hobby is not the center of the messages of conference)to the gospel to handle even the scriptural concept of unity (The Zion concept of one heart and one mind) and being one with the Brethren. Take for instance the subjects we are commanded to study in the scriptures like the words of Isaiah. Most adult members toss their hands up in the air and never take seriously the command to study.

    This is my point though that the conference talks and the topics they cover are generally basic subjects that expand our understanding of the scriptures. They are worth taking time to study and they are worth pondering because that is where we are then to ask the Lord in prayer after careful meditation “if there is more that I should know?”

    I have learned many powerful truths that are often not openly discussed but the brethren would desire to discuss if they were permitted to say so.


  50. I think what you’re saying is, don’t reject the leadership just because the church can’t handle any more than the basics (the milk). But see, there was a time when a great deal more meat was taught openly, at the conference pulpit. We’ve digressed back to the milk. It’s not like there’s any spiritual progress being made, here. This church is farther from the principles of Zion, today, than ever before. I think the Lord is not pleased. To be satisfied with this state of things is to submit to the “all is well in Zion” philosophy. The brethren ought to be reflecting more of a tone of true prophecy, such as Enos referred to when he said: ” “And there was nothing save it was exceeding harshness, and prophesyiing of wars, and contentions, and destructions, and continually reminding them of death, and the duration of eternity, and the judgments and power of God, and all these things, stirring them up continually to keep them in the fear of the Lord. I say there was nothing short of these things, and exceeding great plainness of speech, would keep them from going speedily to destruction.” (Enos 1:23) According to Enos, these same people were hard working and missionary oriented (vs. 20-21). Looks like they were a lot like the LDS. I’d like to see our modern prophets follow this pattern just to see if it works; since their continual, Nehorian sweet-talk for the last hundred years hasn’t gotten the church anywhere, spiritually. If the church can’t progress beyond Primary-level teaching, she’ll be destroyed by the Lord’s wrath, and that is the pattern of history. The Pharisees and the Popes always taught the basic morals; but they rejected the meat that had been offered them, and the high covenant that had been committed to them.

  51. My impression of this conference especially priesthood session was that the tone was more of a repent because you are living below your privileges sort of discussion. I also got the clear message that Pres Monson was not pleased with the state of many of the men in the church. I have always felt that Pres Packer has always delivered his messages as calls to repentance. He was highly criticized last year for the message about homosexuality. Sister Beck was also hammered two years ago by many about the sad state of affairs that our good sisters have fallen into.

    Just going over the more calls to repentance sort of discussions from the President…..I recall Pres Kimball call us out on our idolatry and Pres Benson tell us we were under condemnation for not reading the book of Mormon. I also heard Pres Hinkley call the men out time and time again for pornography, drugs etc. and the prophetic utterance at the end of the Proclamation on the Family is as powerful as any old testament prophet statement about Jerusalem being destroyed. I also remember him talking about how wicked we were and that our society is more wicked than it was in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah.

    We hear the brethren call for us to be worthy to go to the temple, to study the scriptures and do the things that will lead us to listen to the holy spirit. Yes they are basic things, but I don’t believe that they are ducking the “thus saith the Lord” sort of a question. They are covering the same topics that Isaiah, Jeremiah, Mosiah, Alma and Nephi covered in the scriptures about faith, personal morality, about welfare principles, and about a repentant attitude.

    I think only once or twice during a prophet’s tenure will he speak with a “the Spirit shaketh my bones” type of a sermon. Far more often the discourse is a still small voice type of a sermon where we are asked to receive the Lords council as if it were as the dews distilling from heaven.

    I personally still feel that the church is under condemnation for not taking the message in the Book of Mormon seriously. If we did we would recognize the messages of Isaiah for what they are.

  52. Well, I appreciate your testimony. They certainly do declare a lot of truth, don’t they? I guess I just get to feeling impatiant. I tend to think that the “Spirit shaketh my bones” sort of speech ought to be the norm, rather than a once or twice during a prophet’s tenure. I enjoyed your response, brother.

  53. I want to comment further on Darren #58. You said: “Each of us has to have the testimony by the Spirit that the 15 men we sustain as prophets seers and revelators are indeed what they claim to be.” This very statement reveals a common mindset in the church that I see as contrary to the pattern of scripture. The proper focus of personal revelation is centered on principles, not men, no matter what their office. If you say “I have a testimony that these men are prophets, seers, and revelators,” you are implying that THEY are the standard, rather than the gospel. That is a big mistake, and is, historically, the first step to apostasy in all generations. That’s why you never find that kind of “testimony” in any of the scriptural record. Because THEY are not supposed to be the standard; rather, the standard is the GOSPEL, or in other words, the COVENANT that has been set in place. While it is appropriate and necessary to recognize a man’s prophetic office, just as Jesus recognized the prophetic office of the scribes and pharisees (see Matt.23:2-3), it is not the role of the Holy Ghost to bear witness of the office of unsanctified men, nor of an unsanctified church. The Book of Mormon, in so many, many places, defines the role of the Holy Ghost, and that role NEVER includes testifying of any church or of any man. What it DOES specify, over and over again, as to what the role of the Holy Ghost is, is to testify of (1)the Father, (2)the Son, and (3) the truth, or gospel. It testifies of these things because these three things do not fluctuate in their truthfulness. Men who possess prophetic office DO. The Holy Ghost’s job is to bear witness of their teaching, IF that teaching is correct and does not conflict with gospel standards. But so much of what comes out of the mouths of our leadership, these days, consists of the “philosophies of men mingled with scripture.” Thus the importance of discerning their individual teachings, never assuming that their office holds the same ultimate authority that the Gospel does. Don’t forget that it is the iron rod, not the living prophet, that Nephi pointed to as the ultimate authority.

  54. Chuck, how is your testifying that Nephi was a prophet whose words about the iron rod are to be trusted any different from Darren’s testifying that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet whose words are to be taken seriously? Because your prophet is dead, his words encased in leather covers, while Darren’s is alive and speaks through a microphone?

    How do you have the words of Nephi except through Joseph Smith, who, unless he really was a prophet, gave you the words of Nephi? He was a man, living in his time, not a scriptural figure of the past, his words encased in leather bindings.

    Your attitude is the original whited sepulchre condemned by Christ. Your words and standards appear beautiful on the outside, but are filled with dead men’s bones.

  55. Chuck,
    While I would not call you attitude a whited sepulchre, I do agree with the logic of Ardis. Why do Nephi’s words hold more weight than those from conference? Because they have been canonized.

    What part of the canonization process do you trust more? Is it because the body of the saints have accepted them?

    I do agree that Nephi’s words do carry more weight. However, if the Spirit manifests the truth of a conference talk, then that is scripture to me. That could be said for any inspiration I get though. It does not mean it is scripture to the body of the church.

    I see canonized scripture as teachings of the prophets that have stood the test of time (however long that is). All the apostles and the President feel they are being directed to ask the body of the saints to accept it as canonized. When we do then it is scripture.

    That does not mean that there is not near scripture content in GC. Or content that expounds and clarifies, or encourages me to accept of more fully obey what is found in the canon. I think there is a lot of the near scripture content in GC.

    I do think that there are some, perhaps many that do not look with a searching eye, the content of GC or other sources. It is important to test it all according the what is in the scriptures and what you have come to find out from the Spirit. Obedience to the truth I have now is critical to confirming new truth, or truth from new sources.

  56. Discern every prophet’s words against the written standard and covenant that is in place. “…not only to say, but to do according to that which I have WRITTEN” (see D&C 84:57) Nephi’s words are part of the standard, being established as cannon. Monson’s teachings, continually, need to be discerned against that standard. Future presidents of the church are warned, in D&C 90:3-5, to beware how they hold the “oracles” (meaning, revelations) of Joseph Smith. Take Paul’s example. He never raised up Peter as a standard to the people, despite his higher office, but honored him in his office and confronted him when he erred in doctrine (i.e.circumcision to the Gentiles). Nor did he, or any other prophet on record, in the ancient church, ever raise up the prophet as a standard. It was always the iron rod, the word of God, the Gospel. Here’s what Joseph taught, TPJS p.237: “President Joseph Smith read the 14th chapter of Ezekiel–said the Lord had declared by the Prophet, that the people should each one stand for himself, and depend on no man or men in that state of corruption of the Jewish church–that righteous persons could only deliver their own souls–applied it to the present state of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints–said if the people departed from the Lord, they must fall–that they were depending on the Prophet, hence were darkened in their minds…” The popular teaching that “the Lord will never allow the prophet to lead the church astray” was fabricated and is not scriptural, is contary to Joseph’s and Brigham’s warnings, and goes against the principle of agency. Scriptural precedent is that the church is always unstable, leadership and membership. No room for blind or unreserved faith in the prophet, in any age. Faith in Jesus Christ. The Word. The Iron Rod. The Gospel.

  57. Chuck, I appreciate you sharing examples of Paul and your quotes from Joseph and Brigham. What I still don’t understand is how you might react to any canonization from this point onward; or even the latest canonization of OD2 or D&C 138. Do you accept them as having the same authority as the BofM or the other earlier canon?

    Do you accept the authority of the church leadership at the time of the earlier canonization as more than the current leadership and general body of the saints?

  58. Rich; It’s an honest question. Thanks.
    To answer, I need to show the pattern, so please bear with me. It may seem like I’m avoiding the issue, but I’m not. There are some things that simply need groundwork to be laid first, in order to understand. So I’ll cover this in two sections.
    See, I view Joseph Smith as much more than a prophet (D&C 135:3) just as Moses was more than a prophet (Num.12:5-8). These men were each Lawgivers, not just prophets. Each headed their own dispensation, establishing the law and the covenant pertaining to it. Each retained their place at the head, even beyond the grave (see D&C 90:3). In every age, the dispensational head sets the standard and bears greater authority than subsequent prophets within the dispensation.
    For instance, subsequent prophets in Moses’ dispensation were not authorized to “add to” nor to “diminish ought” from the law that Moses had established (Deut.4:2). Their job was to (1) warn the people when they began to depart from the law, (2) keep them in remembrance of their covenant,(3) foretell what was about to befall the people if they did not repent, and (4) receive visions for the welfare of the people, but not to change the covenant. They had no authority to change the appointed ordinances, nor to alter the law and covenant in any way.
    Scroll forward to the days of Jesus. Jesus admitted that the scribes and Pharisees held prophetic office (Matt.23:2), having inherited the same from Moses. He instructed the people to obey their official decrees (vs. 3) because their outward preaching was consistent with moral law. Jesus was angry, not for their moral teaching, but because they had tampered with aspects of the law and covenant laid down by Moses (see Matt.23:16-22).
    The sin of the scribes and Pharisees was that they assumed they had equal authority to that of Moses, and acted as if they, themselves, were lawgivers (rather than just prophets); and so they felt justified in changing the ordinances, establishing their own version of the law, and manipulating the covenant. No doubt they claimed divine revelation in so doing.
    In spite of basic moral living, they had lost the spirit of prophecy, they had treated lightly the things which they had received from Moses (compare D&C 84:54) and they were busy promoting the attitude that all is well in Zion, as if there were nothing lacking or corrupted in the manipulated standard they now professed.

  59. Based on this pattern, which is a recurrence of the same many times over, I have to discern OD2 against that which Joseph established, who is the authorized lawgiver for our dispensation. The Book of Mormon reveals that a black skin is evidence of a generational curse, to be overcome. (Every bloodline has its own, individual, generational curse to overcome). The Book of Abraham reveals that a man who is not permitted priesthood may still prove, by his works, that he is a “righteous man” (see Abraham 1:26). All righteous men, who continue so, will eventually be exalted as Brigham taught. When the curse is removed, the skin loses its blackness (3rd Ne.2:15).
    I understand the history. Joseph ordained a couple of black men to priesthood offices, and sent one of them on a mission to preach “to his own kind.” Brother Elijah Abel was a humble man, and trustworthy. Brigham never took away his ordination and allowed him to continue to attend quorum meetings and administer to his own.
    I believe that Joseph, holding no prejudice against the black man, ordained Elijah Abel before coming across the Abrahamic text. That text, as he was in the process of translating it, caused him to approach the Lord, where he obtained the law of the priesthood regarding that race. Knowing Joseph, his heart broken, I can just see him asking, “Lord, what shall I do with brother Abel? I have already ordained him, and he is child-like, and he wants to be a missionary.” To which the Lord likely answered: “Send him to his own kind, and let him minister to them all the days of his life; and he shall be an example unto his kindred, and by and by he will be restored to that lineage unto whom the rights of the priesthood belong.” These are my impressions. I believe old Elijah has a white skin, now, don’t you?
    My conclusion: OD2 is a doctrine of the church, established by common consent. I recognize, at the same time, that it did not come from the Lord, but from the leadership and people, as a means to avoid persecution, or because they simply felt ashamed of the doctrine as it had stood previously.
    As far as section 138 (the vision given to Joseph F. Smith), I find nothing against it. That kind of revelation is within the bounds of prophetic authority and does not trespass into the added authority of the dispensational Lawgiver. If this revelation were to change the ordinances or diminish the covenant that Joseph Smith set in place, then I would have to regard it to be false. To me, it is uplifting and appears consistent with what Joseph Smith laid down. I don’t mind an increase in knowledge. I do mind it when the standard, itself, is diminished, and then set forth as being of equal value.

  60. Chuck,

    Perhaps I should no longer be amazed by the diversity of belief among Mormons. You have an interesting take on scriptural authority.

    I do not know what the color of skin Elijah has. Maybe that is not important.

    I appreciate understanding your beliefs.

    How do you see OD1 and the Pearl of Great Price? They were canonized later than the early part of the church. How do you view the teachings of Joseph that are not in the LDS canon?

  61. A knowledge of the surrounding history of OD1 removes all doubt that it was not intended as a revelation, nor was it perceived as such by the leadership back then. They believed they needed to remove plural marriage as an official church tenet, in order to preserve her from persecution; but at the same time they understood that the operations of priesthood are not limited to the church; thus the same leadership ordained and set apart a handful of men, and a quorum, to keep plural marriage sealings going in secret, outside of the church, just as Joseph had done it. They felt that this way, the church could still fulfill her mission to spread the gospel to all the world. Only gradually, after that, did new generations of leadership eventually come to despise plural marriage, and reject it as a living principle of the Restoration.
    I accept all that Joseph taught – yes, including his view that there are men on the moon. When the veil is drawn away, you will see that the moon is a lot more than what it appears to be.
    Joseph restored far more than the church EVER received; and she has lost maybe half of what she once received. The early brethren prophesied that Joseph will return and finish the work of the Restoration – as of now, only the foundation is laid (a point that is repeated several times in the D&C).
    I believe Joseph, like Moses, and Abraham, and Jesus, was an exalted man before he appeared in the flesh, and held a high position already in eternity. He testified: “I never told you that I am perfect, but there is no error in any of the revelations I have given.” I believe this. He manifested an intelligence far beyond any other man on record. He hinted as to who he is, when he said: “Everlasting covenant was made between three personages before the organization of this earth, and relates to their dispensation of things to men on the earth; these personages, according to Abraham’s record, are called: God the first, the Creator; God the second, the Redeemer; and God the third, the Witness or Testator.” [TPJS, p. 190] He is the third. He occupies the office of an Elias, just as John the Baptist did, whose mission is to prepare the way of the Lord in every age. Jesus described John the Baptist as “more than a prophet.” The same can be said of Joseph Smith.

  62. Excuse me but did you really just call JS “God the third, the Witness or Testator?” I’m pretty sure throughout history that has been identified as the Holy Ghost and it is his role to testify of all truth and witness to the world that Jesus is the Christ. I think you have made a serious miscalculation if you were suggesting that JS is/was the third, unless you are saying JS was/is the Holy Ghost, in which case you are still making a serious mistake, just a different one.

  63. I offer the following as my opinion, realizing that I could be wrong in giving it. I really do believe that Joseph Smith is the head of the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times, which is the greatest of all dispensations because it is appointed to gather all things in one, from former dispensations, and usher in the millennial reign of Christ. The church has never yet let go of this doctrine, although she is ashamed of some of the things Joseph stood for.
    I’m sure you agree that, of the three Gods mentioned in the above quote (#70), at least the second one, God the Redeemer, has come to this earth in the flesh, and gone through mortality. Jesus is that God, and he headed his own dispensation.
    I’m sure you’re aware, from endowment theology, that Michael is the one who was sent down to create this earth. He became Adam; and he also headed a dispensation. Can he not be considered, then, God the Creator? Maybe there really was something to the Adam-God doctrine which Brigham always claimed to have gotten from Joseph, and which also Eliza Snow claimed to have been taught from her husband, Joseph, along with many others. “But,” you ask, “How can that be, if the Father already had a resurrected body of flesh and bones?” When we come to comprehend the science behind the resurrection, we may find that a celestial body has the capacity to “condescend” into lower states for a while, and that this is what is another form of “the condescension of God.”
    Now, about the Holy Ghost. Did you suppose that the Holy Ghost could never come into mortality? What if the Holy Ghost is an office, rather than just one man? Suppose Joseph, when he is on the other side of the veil, is the Head who governs over all the individual, sanctified “spirits of just men made holy,” who reside in the spirit world and are assigned to minister unto those, in mortality, who have been given the gift of the Holy Ghost? What if all these holy spirits, themselves, are operating in the authority of the office of the Holy Ghost? Did you really think that the Holy Ghost, being one Being, could be everywhere at once?
    So, yes. It is my opinion that Joseph Smith is the head honcho over the spirits of just men made holy, all of whom operate in the office of the Holy Ghost. When he is in mortality, he is called the Testator. Does a little meat taste good to you? Or is the taste of milk still your preference?
    Like I said, the above is my opinion. Am I wrong? Even if I am, you can see why I take Joseph Smith so seriously; and why I can’t swallow so much of what the church now teaches to diminish his legacy. Here is one last quote from the man: “Would to God, brethren, I could tell you who I am! would to God I could tell you what I know! but you would call it blasphemy, and there are men on this stand who would want to take my life.” Joseph Smith; Life of Heber C. Kimball, p.33

  64. John, I thought that was quite a leap too.

    Chuck, I having been thinking. Do you think you may be making a similar mistake that some make of LDS towards the current Predident, that JS (and Abraham, Moses and other dispensation openers) is infallible or so near it that there is no difference.

    I am not sure what you mean when you say he was exalted before this life. If you mean, the Lord knew they were going to be exalted; they were foreordained to be exalted then I think I can agree. If you mean that they had already received their exaltation similar to Jesus (and perhaps the Holy Ghost) I don’t think I can agree with you. [After reading your last comment, I think I understand. You think the Holy Ghost may be an office and not held by only one person.]

    It seems clear to me that JS was imperfect and a man. Moses and Abraham too. Perhaps that means they could have been exalted before this life. I have never understood it that way.

    I just read your last comment. I would call that meat if it is true. If it is not then it is just a speculating opinion (no offense). Your ideas are interesting and I am glad to understand them.

    Are you single in these beliefs or are there others that believe like you?

  65. Chuck,

    So your suggestion is that God the creator is Adam? Heard the theory, don’t like it much though. If it were true, who exactly was it that Adam was talking to in the garden? Was God the father both in heaven giving commands and in mortality as Adam? If that were true or possible then there is no reason we couldn’t accept the idea of the “holy trinity” of Jesus being mortal and the talking to himself in prayer and such at the same time.

    Here is counsel on this topic from a sustained Apostle:

    There are those who believe or
    say they believe that Adam is our father and
    our god, that he is the father of our spirits and
    our bodies, and that he is the one we worship.
    The devil keeps this heresy alive as a means
    of obtaining converts to cultism. It is contrary
    to the whole plan of salvation set forth in the
    scriptures, and anyone who has read the Book
    of Moses, and anyone who has received the
    temple endowment, does not deserve to be saved. Those who are so
    ensnared reject the living prophet and close
    their ears to the apostles of their day. “We will
    follow those who went before,” they say.

    Well Chuck you have proved his right in several of these threads. You do indeed say “I’ll follow Joseph and ‘those who went before'” I agree the Church has left its covenants to establish Zion, but not because the Church wants it that way, but because almost all of its membership does. We have failed to live up to our covenants and gained to promised blessings, in that sense I’ve been on your side of the arguments.

    But if you suggest that living apostles, including the chief apostle himself, are wrong on this issue and have led us all astray, then you are on the cusp of apostasy. I would beg you to repent, to have a change of heart (a change of opinion) on this matter. You are on the wrong path! If you choose to persist in it, please stop calling yourself a latter-day saint, for you don’t support the priesthood keys on earth today. If you persist in it the church will cut the priesthood ties that bind you to it and you will sink yourself into further darkness wherein you will be walking in darkness at noon-day.

  66. Jax, I appreciate your warning and I’d like to answer you in my next post, after I answer Rich in this one. I do appreciate these sincere responses, from the two of you.
    First of all, I don’t think God would send anyone who isn’t exalted to head a dispensation. I’m sure you’ve noticed the Lord’s instruction to Moses: “…and he (Aaron) shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God.” (Ex.4:16).
    It’s too easy to be caught up in a shallow understanding of what it means to be “exalted” and what it means to be “perfect.” These words can only be explained in the sense of relativity. Abraham gives us to understand that where one thing exists, no matter how high, there is a higher thing still (Abr.3:16) – and that principle applies to the Gods themselves (see vs. 19). The Bible says that Noah was “perfect in his generation” (Gen.6:9). What does that mean? To me, it means that Noah could be perfectly trusted to obey the Lord; and if he made a mistake, he was trusted to be corrected. The Lord chastised Moses severely for something we, at our level, would consider to be a light mistake; yet God never ceased to trust him, because his nature was like unto God’s; his nature was exalted; he was the meekest man on the face of the earth (Num.12:3). That’s how exalted he was. I think it takes a pretty exalted man to do what Noah did, calling in the floods and having the earth obey, don’t you? I think the same about the power that Moses demonstrated. Any man who has seen the face of God, and had his calling and election made sure, is in an exalted state, having thereby been given access to the powers of heaven (see D&C 50:26-30).
    Also, there is a difference between sin and making a mistake. Joseph said: “What many people call sin is not sin; I do many things to break down superstition, and I will break it down.” The real definition of sin is the breaking of covenants, especially our covenant with God. A godly man, who is born of God and received the mighty change spoken of by Alma, no longer possesses the inclination to sin – “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin” (1 John 3:9; see also Mosiah 5:2) – but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t make mistakes, possess misperceptions, and occasionally show a lack of wisdom. The Lord is simply not offended by human weakness; he is offended by sin. See D&C 59:21.
    Yes, I do see Joseph as an exalted man. He was as perfect as a man gets in the telestial state, unless he is directly fathered by a celestial Man, which puts him in a higher order with greater capacity, as was the case with that second God, the Redeemer. And notice how the Redeemer, despite that he did not sin, was accused of sin by a world who holds all kinds of misperceptions as to what sin means.

  67. Chuck,

    I have no problem at will with that last post. I think perfection is attainable in this life, and believe Joseph reached it. No one lives a perfect life from birth to death except the savior, but there is no reason humans can’t live most of their life perfectly. In order to not be perfect from birth to death, a man need only sin a few times – not necessarily ‘every day’ like I hear many say they do; He will then have need of the atonement forever (as we all do) but can then live the rest of his life perfectly. There is no reason a person can’t overcome all of their sins in the first few decades of life and live perfect for a majority of their mortality.

    Joseph was on a higher plain than most LDS people achieve, of that their is no doubt. He had a higher calling and more authority given to him than he could tell. But I don’t think he is the Holy Ghost; who will receive a mortal body at some point (though don’t ask me when). And that definitely doesn’t have any sway toward me buying the Adam-God theory. Your call for excellence is commendable and I wish more could see that we (LDS) are living in spiritual poverty compared to what has been offered us. But your openly hostile criticism of the GA’s is inappropriate since I assume you too have made a covenant not to speak evil of them (see your above post for what breaking covenants means). I’ve never heard a GA say we shouldn’t establish Zion, quite the opposite in fact (D.T.Christofferson – Come to Zion). I’ve never heard them deride J.S. I hear them call his a holy prophet and speak his name in reverence, second only to the name of the Savior. They follow him and speak of him as the living head of this dispensation. What they don’t do though is emphasize some of his teachings. And for good reason IMO. We can’t get people to even read the BOM, let alone live the higher commandments. They may not shove J.S. and his standards (because we’d only be more condemned for rejecting them, as we surely would) down our throats constantly, but they do honor and revere him.

  68. Jax;
    I was not unaware of Elder McConkie’s attempt to discredit the Adam-God doctrine. The problem I have had to wrestle with, is, did he have authority? I realize he had the office, but Brigham had an even higher one, as you know. And Brigham claimed to have gotten the doctrine from Joseph, who heads the entire dispensation.
    Although Joseph might be viewed as a “dead” prophet, he still holds more keys than any other man who has since occupied his seat: “Verily I say unto you (Joseph), the keys of this kingdom shall never be taken from you, while thou art in the world, neither in the world to come” (D&C 90:3).
    Do we have a right, as members, to raise our concerns when we see our highest leaders trampling a doctrine of the Restoration? We certainly do, just as a mature child would have the right to question an erring parent, or a wife her erring husband; but it must be done respectfully, and in meekness.
    Among those holding prophetic office are some who may be discerned for their abuse of the same. See D&C 64:38-40; also 121:35-36.
    Was Elder McConkie speaking under the spirit of revelation? If so, then Brigham wasn’t. So, what is left? It must be discerned.
    To me, the doctrine simply tastes right. It is too glorious to discard! That is how a witness feels when it comes from the Holy Ghost. It appeals to my conscience, because it shows great insight into the literal sacrifice and condescension of the Gods. It shows that even after we have been exalted in heaven, and have fathered our own spirit children, we will still continue to obey the Law of Sacrifice for their upbringing.

    I love the doctrines, principles, and laws of Zion. It is a vain thing, indeed, if we reject such glorious truths after they were so graciously offered us, and while they are still in plain sight! Surely, THAT is what it really means to walk in darkness at noonday?
    I am not accusing you. There is nothing wrong with a man loving his leaders, and supporting them even in their weakness. Such support might mean, at times, gently admonishing them in their faults – just as Oliver Cowdery was counseled of the Lord to do for Joseph (see D&C 6:18-19).

    As for the “holders of the keys”, I would remind you that it is Joseph who holds them to this day; he has not left the scene. It is the duty of all church officers to uphold them rather than arguing with them, as Elder McConkie did.

  69. One more thing I would like to address, Jax, with regard to something you said. You reminded me of my “covenant” to uphold the general authorities and leadership of the church. Our covenant, in reality, is to uphold the Lord’s work and be faithful to all that we have been given. In the temple, we make covenants to obey certain laws. The wording is very specific, requring obedience to those LAWS, and not to any particular man or officer of the church. The officers of the church are under the exact same covenant, to obey the same laws.

    So, when you speak of our “covenant”, remember that. God will never put any man or woman under covenant of strict obedience to any man who is not sanctified. Just as a wife has an eternal right to rebel against a husband who has rebelled against God; so a member must not feel obligated to obey anything coming from the church leadership that runs counter to his, and their, covenants.

    I would encourage you to study the Journal of Discourse, a record of the early General Conference speeches, where these faithful principles were taught; and where the warning was made plain that every member must get his own oil, to discern all things, even to discern the highest leadership.

    In other words, remember that the first principle of the Gospel is faith in Christ; and through faith, discernment. It is not, nor ever was, faith in church, or faith in any officer of the church, understanding, at the same time, that we should be naturally trusting where trust is appropriate. That is the spirit of revelation, which comes through personal diligence and seeking.

    May the Lord bless all of you to discover where Zion is, and to partake of its full blessings.

  70. Chuck,

    how about your charge to aviod all…evil speaking of the Lord’s anointed? that is what I was talking about. Though you definitely skirt the edges of the others as well.

  71. To discuss a man’s weakness, or his mistake, is not the same as contending that he is evil. But if they don’t repent, after having been warned, they eventually become that way. If I had been in a position to do so, I would have confronted Elder McConkie in a private setting to voice my concerns, and yes, to warn him, since it “becometh every man to warn his neighbor” (D&C 88:81). I consider the GA’s to be in the category of “neighbor”, don’t you?
    The GA’s are required to be humble, and teachable, just as we are – and if they arent, it’s “amen to the priesthood of that man” (D&C 121:37. Same rules apply to all. Authority of office does not release these men from those rules. The law of common consent was set in place for the very purpose of enabling the membership, through their own righteousness, to oust an offending priesthood leader – even the highest officer of the church, if necessary. See D&C 107:82-84.

  72. There’s old Artis again! I love this woman, because she reminds me of my very cute little sister, who tends to stomp out in the middle of a discussion, then reflects on what I said, renews her interest, then returns to the discussion again. She’s an intelligent gal, fully capable in that regard; but she has a hard time reigning in her emotions long enough to think a thing through. She’s learning to keep focused, though, and is finding that she CAN, when she tries hard enough, put forth thoughtful contributions of her own – which always feels uplifting to me whether I agree with her or not.

    So, here’s my counsel for sister Ardis: When you disagree with something I say, train yourself to take these steps:

    1. Ask yourself: Why do I disagree? Formulate your own reasoning, no matter how long it takes, and write it down. At this step, don’t worry about proving anything with evidence, just write your opinion down.

    2. Ask yourself: What is the evidence to support my opinion? Are there any scriptures I’ve come across, that would seem to lend credence to my opinion?

    3. Learn to use the Topical Guide, which is the best scriptural index ever created in the history of mankind. All you have to do is remember one word of the scripture you want to find, usually. If you still can’t find it, write me and I’ll tell you where it is. I’ll help you out all I can. Really, because I love to see people make the effort.

    4. Listen closely to any opposing opinion, and see what scriptural or other reasonable evidence they offer. STAY FOCUSED and don’t let yourself feel emotionally upset, because you see that interferes with the discerning process, which is largely a mental excercise. Remember to “study it out in your mind” and don’t let emotions stop that noble process.

    5. Make intelligent contributions. Anything you offer is intelligent, Ardis, if it shows that you are THINKING and not just reacting emotionally. As you do this, you will come to appreciate the joy of loving and respectful conversation. Gradually, it will turn you more and more into a religious conservative, like me! (That was a tease, Ardis).

    And, by the way, would you like to meet my sister?

  73. Chuck, you’re off the wagon. (Get it? Chuck, wagon?) I’m putting you in moderation, meaning that a T&S blogger will have to approve your comments. You’ll stay there until it appears that you can make comments that don’t turn every thread into a flame war.

  74. Thank you, Kaimi. (Although it was kind of a bad joke).

    Back to conference, Rich Alger up there somewhere clarified my hierarchy of authorities exactly right:

    1) I think what the current prophet and apostles say is most important, especially when they issue proclamations signed by all, like “On the Family” (although I referred to this as scripture when Elder Oaks was conducting a give-and-take discussion in our leadership session of Stake Conference a while back and he was a little vague on that point). But I don’t read Conference talks in scripture study. I generally read them on the bus. And I think that tends to show their importance in daily living!

    2) Next in importance and hand-in-hand with our current leaders are the Standard Works – emphasis on the BoM and then the D&C because it is modern and in our language and our historical dispensation (but I’m really enjoying the New Testament for Sunday School as we continue the BoM in family reading – albeit very slowly). And I just love the accessible scriptures on LDS.org when I need to look something up. Well, basically ALL Standard Works, as Testaments of Christ.

    3) Last is the dead prophets – and I did mean by that – in their non-canonical statements and teachings. Maybe Bro. Joseph carries a little more weight, but not in any way to deify him (for heaven’s sake!)

  75. Sure thing, Grant. In retrospect, I think I should have said, “you’re out of hand, Chuck.” Cause there’s a part of a drill called the hand chuck. (But how many people know that?) :)

  76. Can someone please remember to nominate #82 and #83 for a lol category niblet?

  77. Hey, I’ve perused (sp?) this blog for the last little while. I must say I was fairly bored until coming upon that chuck whicker’s comments, and the others who commented on his comments. I was sorry to see you’ve shut him out, and would have liked to see it keep going. I don’t think he meant any offense, with regard to Ardis. Anyway I guess he is accused of contention, but I didn’t see it myself. And I can’t be sure why people were offended. Was it because he looks upon Joseph Smith too highly? Or, was it because he didn’t look upon Bruce R. McConkie highly enough? I thought he did a fairly good job of providing references, at least, to show why he believes what he does. If you’ll put him on again, I’ll ask him some questions of my own. I know the scriptures pretty good, and I think I could give him a run for his money. Will you do it?

  78. I for one, am glad to see him monitored. And I’ll try to explain why (as we head off topic again although this chain did originate with Living Prophets vs. Scriptures).

    First, let me explain that I have no involvement in T&S blog management and I’m fairly new to all this.

    Second, in full disclosure I sent an e-mail to T&S blog managers suggesting they deal with Chuck for two reasons. 1) he was hijacking every thread, and 2) he was clearly promoting and proselytizing for his own rather odd, out-of-the-mainstream dogma. (Ardis phrased it more directly than I did). His agenda was not to engage in honest discussion but to “lie in wait to deceive” and we flushed him out.

    Third, as T&S claims to be a forum for discussions of interest to faithful LDS, I kinda wanted to test them to see how they would deal with it. I have the same standard on my much less viewed blog, so I was just curious. I think they did a good job.

    Fourth, while I’m sure Forrest and many others could do a good job in countering any and all arguments, as I could if I wanted, I learned long ago on a mission and through life experience (I admit I am a Baby Boomer while I’m assuming, perhaps erroneously, that most of you are probably Gen-Xers or Millenials) that such scripture-bashing discussions sink deeper and deeper into the dogmatic quagmire which I don’t think does anyone any good only creating ill-will. I, for one, just hate proof-texting. Give me your ideas and how you came about them in honest discussion, but spare me the dogmatic cherry-picking to “prove” your particular philosophy through manipulation of the sacred word.

    Now I have to get back to work from my lunch break.

  79. I have no idea what you mean by “hijacking.” The man responded to questions put to him. Do you mean his answers were too long? I think he said just what was necessary to get his point across. Could this be a control issue on your part? I can’t see that he was repetitive. Can you?
    And as for “out-of-the-mainstream-dogma”, I suggest you review the policy rules, which state that you don’t have to be a member, or a believer, just respectful. As I see it, Mr. Whicker was respectful, answering honestly and without trying to hide anything about himself. It seems that some of you, however, allowed yourself to feel irritated and became angry. Did Mr. Whicker “cause” you to feel this way? Are you not responsible for the feelings you embrace?
    As I see it, it was not Mr. Whicker who did the name calling, and it was not him that entered into the spirit of contention. Just a friendly word of advice. Put him on, and give yourselves a chance to redeem yourselves. You might begin by apologizing, as is becoming of saints.

  80. Forrest, are you “Mr. Whicker” using another name? You haven’t participated in the conversation until now, and you have some of the same traits that have been objected to where he is concerned.

    Be honest. That’s becoming of saints, too.

  81. If I could talk to the man, on this blog, you would find that I don’t agree with him, and that I have scriptural and historical reasons for it. Since no one else seems to be willing to address him on a basis of scripture, and actual evidence, why not let me give it a try? I have sensed no contention in him and I think he and I could have a friendly little debate. I think it could produce good fruits, and I think some of you could gain, from viewing our discussion, more understanding of what our scriptures actually convey. I’m probably a couple generations older than most of you, and I’ve had a lot of experience. The scriptures seem to encourage debate, if we can avoid the spirit of contention. I noticed this just the other day, it’s in D&C 70:7-10.

  82. Lol Forrest,

    He was having the same discussion on three threads about how the current GA’s had strayed from the teachings of JS and the earlier brethren. If that were to topic under discussion that would have been fine, but since it was not, that is “threadjacking.” He was very polite, and well versed in his views, but his continued speaking contrary to and about the apostles of God is not respectful. I think he had some valid points about how the church has left past teachings, but he then veered into territory clearly defined by prophets as apostate, tried to give evidence in his favor, and then mocked those who would disagree (i.e. “Does a little meat taste good to you? Or is the taste of milk still your preference?). This was an attempt to belittle and destroy faith. I think I responded to him more sympathetically than the others who responded, but even I was glad to see him monitored.

  83. You’re right. It’s 71. Thanks.
    I sincerely suspect that Mr. Whicker is a fundamentalist mormon. I had a good friend, once, who was one of those, so I know how they think. It’s my discussions with that friend that led me to delve into things a little deeper to see if I could answer my buddy without losing my testimony. Look, I know you kids lead busy lives, and you can’t be expected to know how to answer this guy. But God has blessed this 81 year-old man with an alert mind. I’m retired and I don’t have nothing better to do. I’ve had a long time to prepare for this fellow. It’d be more fun than a roller-coaster ride for this old man.

  84. Forrest, when someone wants to carry on his own conversations that are too far removed from the content of a blogger’s post — as Chuck Whicker did on so many T&S threads, and as you are attempting to do on this one — the preferred method is to start your own blog, carry on your debate with him there, and attract an audience, if you can. You just don’t go into anybody’s blog (or church or living room or concert hall or anywhere else), interrupt the activity being hosted there, and impose your own program with its contrarian agenda.

    If you’re as bright and reasonable as you claim to be, you’ll understand that. If you’re as persuasive as you think you are, maybe you can actually attract an audience. Just do it on your own space, and don’t presume to do it in someone else’s.

  85. I’m not too computer smart. Wish I knew how. But it did seem to me that Mr. Whicker stayed on topic the whole time. Oh well. Guess I’ll have to seek my companionship somewhere else. I’m a little surprised, and pleased, Ardis, at how intelligently you can write. Didn’t show through in your responses to Mr. Whicker. Are you a writer?

  86. No. I have nothing better to do with my time than prowl around other people’s blogs and try to rouse rabble.

    And I think #91 is right. I think you’re Chuck Whicker using a randomizer to disguise your IP address.

  87. After the first go around that I had with Chuck Wicker I could not help than to think of Section 85 of the D&C and how difficult it is to not want to put forth ones hand to steady the arc of God. I received some personal revelation on that specific section years ago where the Spirit whispered it to me at least three different times in the span of a month. Since that time I have always looked to the living oracle of the church and not tried to criticize the brethren lest I would be like Uriah and be found trying to steady the Arc.

    As my previous posts stated I do believe that when the brethren speak at conference the messages are to us as modern day scripture and if we do not supplement our daily scripture study with the quotes and themes of what the Lord inspired those men to deliver we are not living by “every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God”. I don’t believe it is coincidence that the command to live by “every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” is found in Section 84 and that we should be careful not to steady the arc of God in Section 85.

    Just so everyone knows how the brethren today feel about this, everyone please read what Pres Benson had to say about this topic when he was the Pres of the Quorum of the 12 (see Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet, President Ezra Taft Benson June 1981 Ensign). I think its pretty clear and men and women who feel like Chuck are on the high road to apostasy if not outside the bounds of the priesthood of God.

Comments are closed.