United Brethren has retired.

Prophet vs. President

President Hinckley's CNN appearance has drawn the usual criticisms from ex-Mormons, anti-Mormons, and NOMs. Chief among them is the notion that sure, Hinckley is a nice guy, and an effective CEO, but why does the world's Prophet only receive divine revelation relating to such minor things (in the grand scheme) as, say, the building of the Conference Center?

Here's the crux of this matter, and it bears stating. As I see it we have no official doctrine that states that Hinckley is God's one and only prophet for the world. If he were, then yes, you might think God had more important things to communicate.

The problem is the blurring of Prophet and President of the Church among members. Prophecy is a spiritual gift and as such is entitled to all those whom God chooses. I believe that there are many "prophets" who receive inspiration (perhaps without knowing it) that furthers God's work. Surely it is the will of God that the West do more to relieve Third World suffering. For communicating this truth with us, people like Bob Geldof and Bono are "prophets". There are many others, known and unknown.

When we speak of the President of the Church as being "the Prophet" we mean that he is entitled to the gift of prophecy for the Church. From True to the Faith: "we sustain the President of the Church as our prophet, seer, and revelator—the only person on the earth who receives revelation to guide the entire Church." Note that last phrase - the Prophet is the only one on Earth who receives revelation for the Church. I do not believe that his sphere extends (at least not yet) to the world. Rare exceptions are those few times when a "proclamation to the world" is specifically made.

The Prophet's "only" unique position in the world is as President of the Church. This is his priesthood office. About this office, True to the Faith says: "The Lord guides His covenant people today through the President of the Church, whom we sustain as prophet, seer, and revelator. The President of the Church presides over the entire Church." Again, his calling is to guide the Latter-day Saints, not anyone else.

We leave ourselves open to criticism when we overbake our claims. The Lord inspires President Hinckey to guide our Church, and something like the Conference Center is the fruit of that. In the wake of the tsunami disaster I pray that God is guiding other "prophets" among governments, religious organisations, and relief agencies to do his will. This is not Gordon B. Hinckley's job, so you anti-Mormons quit whining, and you TBM's stop claiming something for the Prophet that he doesn't claim himself.

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Anonymous Anonymous said ... (December 29, 2004 3:01 PM) 

Maybe this is one of those "Mormon traditionns" that I sooooo loathe, but I was under the understanding that a Bishop was the Bishop of his whole ward area. He was responsible to look after even non-members, and to intercede in situations that would require church assistance and some guidance and structure.

This would include things like Natural disasters, or making judgment calls to help and support other faiths (ie. one Bishop opened the ward building up to a congregation of 7th day Adventists because their church had burned down.)

In this same way the Prophet is for the whole world. The Proclaimation(sp?) on the Family is certainly a piece of revelation for the whole world. It is in fact adressed to the world. The Church being the restored church of God on the Earth would make President Hinkley his Mouthpiece in all matters pertaining to the Administration of the restored church which ..... Yeah, you're right Ronan. However, truth is truth, and if it is revealed through the Lords servants, LDS or not, is is the responsibility of anyone in the owrld to follow it. Is it subjective, even relative? I suppose so. But if the Dhali Lama(sp..again) was to come out and give a true principal, it would be my responsibility to follow it.

I have been thinking about this alot lately.. just simple things, like, how did people know you need animal renderings to make cheese? How did the early blacksmiths know you needed Borax flux to weld metal? Someone had to come up with these ideas.. I can;t imagine Og and Thor stanging around a fire thinking.. geeze, we keep breaking these wooden clubs... lets make a really hot fire, take some of this, and some of that, and we can make bronze, or Steel...

If the Dark ages were really that dark, you would think that the Lord would have done something similar to Soddom and Gammorah (sp) and destroyed everyone on earth if there were none good enough around. But he didn't Martin Luther came along and posted his issues with the church, Columbus felt fire for the deed, Bill Gates started Microsoft (though Satan may have played a big part in that) certainly they must have recieve personal revelation, or just general revelation that would push them to guide a group of people...

I don't think you need to speak in general conference to have the gift of Prophesy, however if a random person came to me and said I have had a revelation for you.. I would laugh in their face. There is something to be said for order. Is it all in the presentation? I don't think it takes a Prophet of God to come out and guide a group of people to follow correct principals. However, I do think that there are select few that can say.. THUS SAYETH THE LORD, and expect the world to follow. THe Book of Mormon was made for everyone, not JUST Mormons.

Interesting and it will make me think all day...


Posted by Jake


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (December 29, 2004 5:53 PM) 

BTW, reading the critics comments left me shaking my head in bewilderment. I think they need therapy. If you want to leave, do it... put it behind you and get on with your life. These people have too much negativity. TO even go so far as to mock ANYONE over the death of a spouse is just downright classless. I don;t care if you don;t think the guy is any kind of prophet, but for cripes sakes... have a little class. The man has been married longer to one person for longer than alot of people even live, and people over there were completely mocking that. The other stuff I thought was pretty amusing, didn't bug me much, but I would like to see what successes they have in life that would make them think that they are qualified to mock the 60 some odd year marriage of a 90 some year old man... really sad.  

Posted by Jake


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (December 29, 2004 6:03 PM) 

Jake, Let me ask you to ponder one question:

If God needed something done among the Catholic community where you live would he do so through the Catholic priest or the LDS Bishop?

If you choose the latter then I'm afraid you a) are living in cloud-cuckoo land, and b) you believe in a God who only speaks with 0.01% of his children.

If you choose the former then you see what I'm saying.

I'm not being a relativist here. The Gospel IS universal. But the government of the Church is only constituted to lead those who enter into its covenants.

To be frank: it is President Hinckley himself who leads me to this conclusion. He is not claiming a prophetic mantle that is at this time universal. If you think he is the World's Chief Prophet then you need to show me evidence that he himself claims to be. 

Posted by Ronan


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (December 29, 2004 6:04 PM) 

Oh yeah, I agree with that Jake. Whatever else you think of Gordon Hinckley, he seems to be a perfectly decent human being. Mockery is not intelligent. 

Posted by Ronan


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (December 30, 2004 3:20 PM) 

I can definitely see whaere you are coming from, and agree. Maybe I am comparing apples to oranges here, and maybe I am way off, but if I am a Democrat in the US, is President Bush still my president?

I know there is a difference when you start to mix something secular, with something Spiritual, But to me.. there is a fundamental difference between a prophet, and someone with the gift of Prophesy.

Even speaking with some of my Catholic friends, they would say that the Pope is just a good guy that leads the Catholic Church.... However speaking to some Pentacostal friends, they say that as close as the local level, that brother so-and-so is a prophet.

I myself hold to a view that there is certainly room for people in the world that are chosen as leaders (I suppose it would be safe to call them prophets) for their people. Handsome Lake of the Iriquios(sp) nation back in the 1800's was one of them. To read his "code" is interesting, even fascinating for Members of this church. If his followers were to put his teachings side by side with ours, there is a good chance that they would all come running into the waters of Baptism...

I do however see a difference between him, and the role President Hinkley plays... Maybe it is because I am a member.

Is there such a thing as lesser prophets? Certainly If Moses and someone like Amos were compared to each other, I would say that Amos was a "lesser prophet. The guy was a sheep herder and his contribution could be considered less significant, he wrote less scripture, he certainly didn't move mountains..., but he did provide guidance.

I guess you have more experience in understanding those things since you do the whole comparitive religion thing... but I would be interested in hearing your views on the roles or levels that may or may not exist.


Posted by Jake


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