This month’s First Presidency message continues the incessant chant and chorus that perpetually emanates from the brethren:

Follow the prophet
Follow the prophet
Follow the prophet
Don’t go Astraaaaay eh

Follow the prophet
Follow the prophet
Follow the prophet
He knows the way!

We read of a vignette in President Monson’s life of some good advice and counsel he received from his then stake president and future president of the church, Harold B. Lee. This leader told him not to pursue a commission in the navy, something Monson supposedly had his heart set on. He took this advice and was glad that he got out. It was a close shave, because if he hadn’t gotten out when he did he just might have ended up in Korea during the Korean War. Whew!

What is interesting to me is this: what is being advocated here is the exact opposite of what we should be doing when we have questions about life.

We shouldn’t be running to the prophet, or church leaders for answers. On the contrary we should be running to the Lord, and seeking for the Holy Spirit to find answers to our questions. We should be counseled to become spiritually self-reliant and self-sufficient, instead of becoming spiritually dependent upon others. We don’t need spiritual food stamps or spiritual welfare.

Joseph Smith taught his people that their eyes were being darkened because they were relying too much on the prophet. He wanted them to look to the Lord first. My question is: Why don’t we hear similar messages today? Are we so insecure at the top that we can’t promote true doctrine and preach spiritually what we teach temporally — self reliance?

The final paragraph of the message points us right at the idol:

“If you want to see the light of heaven, if you want to feel the inspiration of Almighty God, if you want to have that feeling within your bosom that your Heavenly Father is guiding you, then follow the prophets of God. When you follow the prophets, you will be in safe territory.”

In other words, look to us. If you don’t you:

1- Won’t see the light of heaven or feel the inspiration of God
2- Won’t have a feeling that you are being guided
3- Won’t be in safe territory

Really? The Keeper of the Gate is the Holy One of Israel, and he employeth no servant there. Our salvation is not dependent upon our relationship with a human, it is dependent upon our relationship with the LORD!

How about delivering us a message straight out of the scriptures like this one:

I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh.  Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.  2 Nephi 4:34

The fact is that prophets can lead us astray. There is no safety in blindly following the president of the church or anyone who is sustained by common consent as a prophet, seer and revelator. We must become spiritually self-sufficient to survive. It has always been the case.

For examples and further discussion read this post on how not to be deceived.