Warning: Occasionally, I can get carried away with a topic I feel passionate about. Usually, I stick with sound reasoning and analysis. This is not one of those posts. Although it is based on Jeremiah 23 and other scriptures, you will likely sense more than a hint of sarcasm in the following which is a fault of mine that I readily admit. Proceed with caution…I don’t mean to offend.
It must be tough being a prophet, seer, and revelator (PS&R) these days. Adulation follows you everywhere you go as you “regulate all the affairs” of the church in whatever Stake you happen to be visiting that weekend. Nevermind that Joseph taught that the Twelve are to preach the gospel to the world and had no right to rule where there was an established Stake of Zion. As of this writing there is no established Zion, so by extension there are no Stakes. By that logic the PS&Rs have a right to rule, but that means they have to admit that the church is not what it purports to be.
It must be tough to sit in the chief seats, repeating the party line about missionary work, keeping the commandments, temple work, and of course paying your tithing, all the while receiving the perks and benefits that attend the office of PS&R. No faith is necessary to receive the living allowances that flow freely in unknown amounts from the faithful members who sacrifice to pay tithing to the unaccountable. Somehow, D&C 84:86-91 doesn’t apply anymore. There, the Lord informs us how we can tell His true disciples–they will be traveling without purse or scrip.
It must be tough not to have to answer difficult questions. When pressed, the answer is usually something akin to what Elder Bednar related to a sister missionary some years back when she asked if there were any scriptures related to women and the priesthood. David was reported to have responded “I am scripture.” End of debate. We can’t even point out what is wrong because somehow, somewhere, it became scripture that it is wrong to criticize leaders of the church, even if the criticism is true.
Besides, if you get out of line the PS&Rs have redefined apostasy to mean acting in open and deliberate public opposition to the Church or its leaders and/or teaching as Church doctrine information that is not Church doctrine after being corrected by their priesthood leaders.
NEWSFLASH: I AM AN APOSTATE!
At least according to their apostate definition of apostasy. This despite the fact that my faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ has never been stronger. My understanding of the scriptures has never had more breadth. My testimony of Joseph and his divine prophetic roles has never been deeper. Like most of you, I am on a learning curve grounded and based on the scriptures and historically verifiable facts. But, of course, that doesn’t matter in the PS&R world. The very idea that you could hold beliefs that are outside the mainstream of PS&R thought is sufficient to cast you out from among the people, even when the doctrines change or are disavowed by the next generation ad nauseum.
Someday, I will be excommunicated for my writings. I am resigned to that fact because I don’t believe that the bulk of the leadership will repent when the servants return. I take comfort, however, in the fact that the same pattern happened in the days of Jesus when the Pharisees were equally unable to brook any sort of challenge to their claims of authority and cast many out of the synagogue.
Twice yearly, the PS&Rs have the additional burden of bringing forth the word of the Lord to His people at general conference. Members of the church wait with bated breath to hear what the Lord has to say through his chosen 15. “We are only a few days away! We must prepare our hearts to hear what He has to say through His prophets! We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet!”
Prior to conference I am reminded of what the Lord said to his servant Jeremiah in the Old Testament. He directly addressed the very situation we find ourselves in with leaders who claim the “burden of the Lord” — that awesome responsibility of receiving revelation from the Son of God himself.
In all the years I have yet to see a PS&R actually say “THUS SAYETH THE LORD.” Instead we have messages that may be inspiring or insipid, entertaining or educational, motivating or moving. But what we absolutely don’t have is the PS&Rs delivering the word of the Lord as if it came from the Lord himself. Rather, we have endless quoting of other men.
I am against the prophets, saith the Lord, that steal my words every one from his neighbour. (Jeremiah 23:30)
We have implications and suggestions that the prophet was moved upon to change this policy or that, or deliver the latest profound exhortation to “Keep the Commandments.” Perhaps the Lord is a fan of Lewis Carroll, I don’t know. But stories of Alice in Wonderland strike me as being a waste of our precious time, and smack of taking deeper things lightly–a condemnation that rests heavy upon the shoulders of the shepherds as well as the sheep.
“And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received–” (D&C 84:54)
“Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the Lord, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the Lord.” (Jeremiah 23:32)
I am not here trying to suggest that talks in general conference are without inspirational messages, or bereft of the spirit. On the contrary, there are many good things to be had in meeting together as believers. However, that does not mean we are hearing the word of the Lord via those sustained as PS&Rs. Many speakers are able to influence and energize, inspire and motivate using the philosophies of men mingled with scripture. But does it mean, when we feel the spirit in our souls, that those words came from Jesus Christ himself? Hardly.
We are constantly taught that if we just keep the commandments, etc. etc. that we can find peace in this troubled world.
“They (the PS&Rs) say still unto them that despise me, The Lord hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you.
For who hath stood in the counsel of the Lord, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it?
Behold, a whirlwind of the Lord is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked.
The anger of the Lord shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly.” (Jeremiah 23:17-20)
Yes, Jeremiah is seeing us in the latter days. He is seeing us despise the Lord when we engage in masonic-based temple ordinances that have nothing to do with the Lord’s true gospel. In fact, in v. 10 it says “because of swearing the land mourneth.” In my view this does not refer to letting fly with a 4-letter word occassionally, but rather the oath swearing that takes place in LDS temples. You, and each of you do solemnly swear…
Instead of preaching messages of peace, true messengers would not let us be comfortable in our sins. They would be calling us to repentance.
“I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.” (Jeremiah 23:21-22)
They would be calling on us to live the Law of the Lord, including consecration and monogamy.
They would be calling on us to repent of our materialism, our greed, our pride, our lusts and our covetousness.
They would be standing as examples themselves of humble followers of Christ instead of ruling over us with their control all the tithing money.
“A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof” (Jeremiah 5:30-31)
Yes. The people love to have it so, because not having a prophet is inconceivable to those who have been indoctrinated into placing their eternal salvation into the hands of mortal man.
So to those who claim the burden of the Lord, those of us who realize that we haven’t had a true prophet since Sidney was kicked out of the church by Brigham Young sincerely ask:
WHAT HAS THE LORD ANSWERED THEE? AND, WHAT HAS THE LORD SPOKEN? (Jeremiah 23:37)
Don’t be shy. Tell us straight up. Here is your big chance.
You are, after all, Prophets, Seers and Revelators, Right?