Archive for December 17th, 2008


The Mormon Source of Authority


      The manual, “Teachings of Presidents of the Church – Joseph Smith”, is currently being studied in the Mormon Church.  Chapter 16 is entitled, “Revelation and the Living Prophet.  That chapter contains the following two paragraphs.


Wilford Woodruff, the fourth President of the Church, reported: “I will refer to a certain meeting I attended in the town of Kirtland in my early days. At that meeting some remarks were made … with regard to the living oracles and with regard to the written word of God. … A leading man in the Church got up and talked upon the subject, and said: ‘You have got the word of God before you here in the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants; you have the written word of God, and you who give revelations should give revelations according to those books, as what is written in those books is the word of God. We should confine ourselves to them.’


“When he concluded, Brother Joseph turned to Brother Brigham Young and said, ‘Brother Brigham, I want you to take the stand and tell us your views with regard to the living oracles and the written word of God.’ Brother Brigham took the stand, and he took the Bible, and laid it down; he took the Book of Mormon, and laid it down; and he took the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and laid it down before him, and he said: ‘There is the written word of God to us, concerning the work of God from the beginning of the world, almost, to our day. And now,’ said he, ‘when compared with the [living] oracles those books are nothing to me; those books do not convey the word of God direct to us now, as do the words of a Prophet or a man bearing the Holy Priesthood in our day and generation. I would rather have the living oracles than all the writing in the books.’ That was the course he pursued. When he was through, Brother Joseph said to the congregation: ‘Brother Brigham has told you the word of the Lord, and he has told you the truth.’ ”16


     This is significant for two reasons.  One is that it gives the testimony of both Joseph Smith and Brigham Young that the living prophet is even more important than scripture.  As Brigham Young said, the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants are “nothing” compared to the living prophet.  Joseph Smith gives his assent to that.  That’s significant.

     But is just as significant is that the LDS Church saw fit to make this part of this new manual.  This is not a dusty doctrine from the dim Mormon past.  In fact they emphasize it with the following study question.


• On pages 198–99, read how Joseph Smith and Brigham Young responded when a man said we should confine ourselves to the revelations written in the scriptures. What would be missing from your life if you confined yourself to the standard works, without hearing the words of the living prophet? What can we do to follow the spirit of Brigham Young’s counsel?


     Does this not say that THE ultimate source of authority in the LDS Church is not the Bible, or the Book of Mormon, or D&C, but the current president, Thomas S. Monson?  As Brigham Young said above:  “I would rather have the living oracles than all the writings in the books.”

December 2008

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