Friday, October 21, 2011

We Need to Stop Asking Our Prophets to Be What They Never Have Been

"It would be wonderful and SO SO much easier if I believed President Monson was a "True Prophet", one that talked to God face to face continuously - not just got revelation - I mean really speaks directly to him day by day. Unfortunately the more I think about it the more I find I can not accept it."

The quote above was something a friend of mine said a while ago. My response is below:

The above definition fits NOBODY within our canon - not even Jesus. On the other hand, our scriptures and our modern history give us a pretty clear picture of very unique, different, flawed, "normal" people who filled a role as "prophets" - a role that actually varies in focus and responsibility over time. Some were administrators (Peter, Aaron, Brigham); some were visionary leaders (Abraham, Moses, Lehi, Jesus, Joseph); some were military men (Samson, Joshua, Moroni, Mormon); some were missionaries (Paul, the sons of Mosiah); some were caretakers in some way (all of them from Jarom up to Mosiah, many in the OT, most of them from John Taylor to David O. McKay); some were . . . controversial . . . to say the least (Samson, Jonah, Paul, Brigham);etc.

There are serious issues that have to be confronted when we stop hanging onto infallibility for our prophets and apostles, but I believe we simply MUST stop asking our prophets to be what prophets never have been.


ji said...

I seem to remember something President Hinckley said shortly after he became President of the Church -- he said something along the lines that he functions more as President of the Church and less as prophet, and encouraged less emphasis on prophet and more emphasis on President of the Church. But even his brethren of the general authorities continually emphasized prophet, seemingly one hundred percent with zero percent emphasis on President of the Church.

But reality is reversed -- he is President of the Church on a daily basis, and prophet on an exception basis.

I do not want to diminish his prophetic office -- but I think we err when we ignore his President of the Church office. That is where his priesthood dignity comes from.

D&C 107:22 22 Of the Melchizedek Priesthood, three Presiding High Priests, chosen by the body, appointed and ordained to that office, and upheld by the confidence, faith, and prayer of the church, form a quorum of the Presidency of the Church.

Anonymous said...

No one referred to Brigham Young as prophet during his lifetime. If anyone had used the term "prophet," it would have been understood that they were referring to Joseph Smith, THE prophet of the restoration. No one referred to any church president as prophet until David O. McKay. Today we throw that term around pretty freely. I think Pres. Hinckley was right on target. Our presidents will occasionally be called upon to be prophets, but most of their duties fall under the heading of president.

Clean Cut said...

Really great post, Papa D. Well said.

Clean Cut said...

"But reality is reversed -- he is President of the Church on a daily basis, and prophet on an exception basis."

Well said to you too, ji.

Stephen M (Ethesis) said...

Well said.

Stephen said...

I think you'd like the comments on prophets here as well:

Papa D said...

Thanks for your input, everyone. I appreciate it.

Stephen, I saw that link in your comment over at Wheat & Tares. I'll check it out.