Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Are there Modern-Day Non-Prophets and False Prophets?

 NOTE

  • My last post, "Is the Church's COVID-19 vaccine advocacy leading you astray? Could it kill you, or is it OK?", is an in-depth look at the link between "trusting the prophet" and the so-called COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • It contains many, many organized COVID-19 related facts (as of this date, 70 source citations) which the mainstream media has chosen to ignore. 
  • Just so you know, I tend to shy away from rumors and gravitate towards statements by verifiable experts/patients. 
  • Because it continues to be updated almost daily, I encourage you to re-visit it regularly. Be smart. Stay informed.


Last week, the Church released a New Dew video. It was a nine-minute sermon on why we should trust the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve as "unfailing" prophets, seers and revelators. 


Here are some of her quotes:

"I know that President Russell M. Nelson is a prophet of God and that his counselors in the First Presidency and each member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are also prophets, seers and revelators. I testify that you can know for yourself that this is true, if you will seek a witness of your own."

"We have 15 prophets, seers and revelators - meaning the members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles - and many consider their teachings inconvenient and politically incorrect. But prophets are under covenant to teach truth, which is why they seem unbending at times - especially to moral relativists who love to pretend that there is no such thing as truth."

"Prophets are one of God's greatest gifts to His children. They form an unfailing safety net of truth."

"There is no greater safety in this life than following the prophet."

What's disturbing is what Sis. Dew stated near the end of her video:

"Some get tangled in asking whether prophets, seers and revelators are infallible. That's the wrong question. A better one is, 'Who exactly are prophets?' They are the ordained holders of priesthood keys that authorize the Lord's power to be distributed throughout the earth. They may not be perfect. But they are the most perfectly inspired leaders on earth, and their only motive is perfectly pure - to help us find our way back home by pointing us to Jesus Christ."

For the time being, I'll ignore the implications of her encouraging us to trust in the arm of flesh; I confronted that topic in my last post. Instead, let's focus on just four words - "That's the wrong question" - with which she entirely minimized the importance of prophetic accuracy. 

Should we follow Sis. Dew's lead and just assume that whatever a prophet says is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

The Bible consistently says otherwise. We are told to "PROVE all things; hold fast that which is good." [1] 

How do we prove that a prophet is a true one? Again, I turn to the Standard Works:

"The prophet which prophesieth of peace, when the word of the prophet shall come to pass, then shall the prophet be known, that the Lord hath truly sent him."  [2]

"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit."  [3]

In fact, the Apostle Paul took discernment of truth in preaching so seriously, he said:

"But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed."  [4]

If God required 100% accuracy for His people in both the Old and New Testaments so they could discern a false prophet,  how much more so do we need that standard for discernment now, when we are told false prophets would abound and that the Anti-Christ would come with lying wonders so good that if it were possible, he would deceive very elect?

It's a dangerous world we live in, and a pretty dangerous time. That is indisputable.

Might I submit that now, more than ever, we need to be "asking whether prophets, seers and revelators are infallible." That's not the wrong question at all. And you know it.

"there came many prophets, and prophesied again unto the people"

I am, however, intrigued by two of the scriptures Sis. Dew included in her video. First, she quoted 2 Nephi 5:6: 

"And all those who would go with me were those who believed in the warnings and the revelations of God; wherefore, they did hearken unto my words."

Then, she quoted Ether 11:12-13:

"And it came to pass that in the days of Ethem there came many prophets, and prophesied again unto the people; yea, they did prophesy that the Lord would utterly destroy them from off the face of the earth except they repented of their iniquities.
And it came to pass that the people hardened their hearts, and would not hearken unto their words; and the prophets mourned and withdrew from among the people."

Here, we see accounts of prophets with "warnings" and prophecies "that the Lord would utterly destroy them from off the face of the earth except they repented of their iniquities." 

I don't think they were the only ones. Lehi tells us in 1 Nephi that there were many prophets doing the same thing in his neck of the woods. Samuel the Lamanite prophesied, too. In fact, I'd hazard a guess that there's a strong, scripturally-based correlation between prophets and foretelling doom lest the people repent. 

The Lord says, "For I am the Lord, I change not". [5]   He "is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing" [6]  In fact, anyone who imagines "a god who doth vary, and in whom there is shadow of changing, then have ye imagined up unto yourselves a god who is not a God of miracles."  [7]

Sure enough, as I've elaborated in several past posts on this blog, God has ALWAYS preceded plagues and pestilences with warnings by His prophets. And logically, because God doesn't change, if He sent prophets in the past to warn us of calamity and destruction, then I'm sure He would be doing so again, today. 

Yet as I read every General Conference address, and the transcripts of every public video Pres. Nelson has produced, not one of them has linked this pandemic with the need to repent. Perhaps mankind as a whole is getting holier, more righteous, and less inclined to do evil.  But something in me says that's definitely not the case at all; if anything, mankind is headed in the wrong direction these days.  

One truth remains: Prophets who don't "prophesy" are not prophets. Seers who don't "see" are not seers. Revelators who don't "reveal" are not revelators.

With God not being changeable, where are the unique "warnings" and prophecies pronounced by Pres. Nelson "that the Lord would utterly destroy" us "from off the face of the earth except" we repent of our iniquities? 

If you know of one, please include it in the comments below. 

"Nothing but truth"

In his September 17, 2019 BYU Devotional "The Love and Laws of God," Pres. Nelson said,

"It is precisely because we do care deeply about all of God's children that we proclaim His truth. We may not always tell people what they want to hear. Prophets are rarely popular. But we will always teach the truth!"

"Thus our commission as apostles is to teach nothing but truth."

So, there is the bar: Prophets and apostles always teach the truth. A true prophet will bring forth true prophecies. A true revelator will bring forth true revelations. Just like an apple tree will bear apples, not bananas, a true prophet will bring forth true prophecies and not some other work.

A man whom the church believes was a true prophet of God -- Brigham Young - never considered himself such:

"I am not going to interpret dreams; for I don't profess to be such a Prophet as were Joseph Smith and Daniel; but I am a Yankee guesser."  [8]

"I do not profess to be a Prophet. I never called myself so; but I actually believe I am, because people are all the time telling me that I am."  [9] 

"I have never said that I am not a Prophet; but, if I am not, one thing is certain, I have been very profitable to this people."  [10]

I tend to believe Bro. Brigham. After all, if Brigham didn't think he was a prophet, why should we?

Even if we were to consider him a prophet, then how do we explain this statement of his:

"In the days of Joseph [Smith] it was considered a great privilege to be permitted to speak to a member of Congress, but twenty-six years will not pass away before the Elders of this Church will be as much thought of as the kings on their thrones."  [11]  

As far as I understand (and feel free to correct me on this), but I've seen nothing indicating that "the Elders of this Church" were "thought of as the kings on their thrones" 26 years later, or in 1882.  In fact, 8 days shy of that 26 year deadline (on August 23, 1882), Elder Rudger Clawson was tried and convicted of practicing polygamy (in fact, he became the first practicing polygamist to be convicted and serve a sentence after the passage of the Edmunds Act). [12]   He was imprisoned and fined for his marriages. [13]   

Let's call that "Strike One."

In 1961, another "Prophet, Seer and Revelator" -- Joseph Fielding Smith - said at a Honolulu Stake conference in 1961:

"We will never get a man into space. This earth is man's sphere and it was never intended that he should get away from it. The moon is a superior planet to the earth and it was never intended that man should go there. You can write it down in your books that this will never happen."  [14]

Strike Two.

(Even cooler: A decade later, on September 14, 1971, the Apollo 15 astronauts presented Joseph Fielding Smith a Utah state flag that traveled with them to the moon).  [15]

On March 11-19, 2017, Elder Neal A. Andersen visited the Caribbean. He spent a week visiting the "tropical paradises" of Puerto Rico, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, giving all kinds of wonderful assurances to the Latter-day Saints. He presided over a host of different meetings all over the islands.



Speaking of the Caribbean area saints, Elder Andersen said, "The Lord is blessing these people, and He's giving them His peace and His Spirit."  [16]

Elder Hugo E. Martinez, a General Authority Seventy and member of the Caribbean Area Presidency, said "Elder Andersen had a message of hope in the future of Puerto Rico that resonated with many members," [16]

Five months later -- August 30, 2017 to September 12, 2017 - Category 5 Hurricane Irma hit Saint Martin, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. It left 134 fatalities and $1 billion in damages.  [17]

Then, a few days later -- September 16, 2017 - October 2, 2017 - Hurricane Maria hit the Caribbean. A deadly Category 5 hurricane, it is regarded as the worst natural disaster in recorded history to affect those islands. 

  • Puerto Rico: Its 175 mph winds killed 2,975 people in just Puerto Rico. A month and a half after the hurricane left, San Juan Puerto Rico Stake President Wilfred Rosa said, "The hurricane was so tough. We still have people struggling just to find food and water. We wait in long lines to get supplies. And, for most people, there's still no [running] water or power." [18]   Three months after the hurricane, 45% of Puerto Ricans (over 1.5 million people) still had no power.  [19]
  • Dominica: More than 85% of the island's houses were damaged, of which more than 25% were completely destroyed, leaving more than 50,000 of the island's 73,000 residents to be displaced. [20] 
  • U.S. Virgin Islands: Nearly a month after the hurricane, electricity had been restored to only 16% of people in St. Thomas and 1.6% of people in St. Croix. [21]   Three months after Maria, about half the entire U.S. territory still had no power, and 25% of the U.S. territory had no cell service.  [22]

Hurricane Maria is still ranked as the third costliest U.S. Atlantic hurricane in U.S. history -- $90 billion in damages.

I don't know very many people who would consider twin Category 5 hurricanes which killed a combined 3,100+ people a "blessing" which led to them experiencing "His peace and His Spirit."

Strike Three.

Ironically, in October 2017, while Caribbeans were still reeling from the after-effects of Hurricane Maria, Elder Andersen gave a talk in General Conference. Entitled "The Voice of the Lord," he stated, "In the commotion and confusion of our modern world, trusting and believing in the words of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve is vital to our spiritual growth and endurance."  [23]

His speech included no mention of Hurricanes Irma or Maria just months after he went and blessed the land and its people as an apostle of the Lord. As the poor saints in the Caribbean had no electricity at the time, they were not favored to hear the Lord speak through his apostle in General Conference as they pondered whether the Lord had forsaken them.

"But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.
And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken?
When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him."  [24]

"What are we to understand by a Prophet? It is his character to predict things that are in the future. I ask what right has any man or set of men or priest of set of priests to say if a man will not do so and he shall be damn'd. Is he not taking upon himself or assuming the character of a Prophet? Consequently he must either be a true of false Prophet."  [25]

The bottom line:

If these "Prophets, Seers and Revelators" are clearly wrong about a few things, what else are they wrong about?

Again, as has been demonstrated numerous times here on this blog, we are commanded in the scriptures to trust in no man; only Jesus Christ. Those who trust in the arm of flesh will invariably see falsehoods and inaccuracies. In fact, I shutter to think of the fate awaiting those who consider themselves unfailing (a synonym for infallible)  [26]  and therefore like unto God.


SOURCES

 1.   1 Thessalonians 5:21
 2.   Jeremiah 28:9
 3.   Matthew 7:15-18
 4.   Galatians 1:8
 5.   3 Nephi 24:6
 6.   Mormon 9:9
 7.   Mormon 9:10
 8.   Journal of Discourses 5:77
 9.   Journal of Discourses 5:177
10.   Journal of Discourses 10:339
11.   A Discourse by President Brigham Young, Delivered in the Bowery, Great Salt Lake City, August 31, 1856; Journal of Discourses 4:40.
12.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudger_Clawson
13.   Wikipedia, 19th Century (Mormonism), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/19th_century_(Mormonism)
14.   D. Michael Quinn, Elder statesman: A Biography of J. Reuben Clark (2002), p. 498
15.   http://onthisdayinmormonhistory.blogspot.com/2008/10/september-14th.html
16.   https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/church/news/elder-andersen-shares-message-of-hope-with-members-in-caribbean
17.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Irma#Caribbean
18.   https://www.thechurchnews.com/archives/2017-10-12/mormon-leader-in-puerto-rico-we-dont-want-to-be-forgotten-15941
19.   Robles, Frances; Bidgood, Jess (December 29, 2017). "Three Months After Maria, Roughly Half of Puerto Ricans Still Without Power". The New York Times. Archived from the original on January 2, 2018
20.   Ian Pannell; Emily Taguchi; Ashley Louszko (October 18, 2017). "'It's all gone': Hurricane-ravaged Dominica, on the front line of climate change, fighting to survive". ABC News. Archived from the original on October 22, 2017.
21.   Erdman, Jonathan (October 20, 2017). "Why Hurricane Maria Was Such a Catastrophe in Puerto Rico". The Weather Channel. Archived from the original on February 22, 2018.
22.   Pérez-Peña, Richard (December 18, 2017). "Recovering What Was Lost in the U.S. Virgin Islands, One Boat at a Time". The New York Times. Archived from the original on January 5, 2018.
23.   https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/2017/10/the-voice-of-the-lord?lang=eng
24.   Deuteronomy 18:20-22
25.   Words of Joseph Smith, p. 230
26.   https://www.google.com/search?q=unfailing&rlz=1C1CHBD_enUS911US911&oq=unfailing



6 comments:

MRR said...

The thing is, this whole Dew cheerleading president Nelson on thing. Her over reaching attempts to convince us he really is for reals the Lords mouthpiece... do we really need that.

That shouldn't be necessary if a prophet claiming to be a prophet actually prophesied or if a seer claiming to be a seer actually saw or if a revelator claiming to be a revelator actually revealed something to the world that was prophet worthy.

By the fruits you shall know them.

Where are the fruits of prophecy, seership, revelatorship. Maybe at the next self aggrandizing Nelson gala super birthday event he holds for himself each year we will be blessed to see prophetic fruits.

Holding my breath...

Dave P. said...

The Joseph Fielding Smith one is an interesting situation, given NASA isn't exactly the most reliable or trustworthy organization itself. Its logo contains a serpent's tongue, "Nasa" means "to deceive" in Hebrew, and its fruits are just as bitter as any other deceiver out there due to countless discrepancies and unanswered questions.

The point about not trusting in the arm of flesh still stands, and the quotation of, "There is no greater safety in this life than following the prophet," made me throw up a little. How blatant can they get without realizing that that is pure idolatry? The church has long-since replaced God with itself.

Rhone said...

This was an extremely difficult truth for me to realize. I was born in the church and grew up worshiping church leaders. The thought that they weren't really what they claimed never entered my mind. At one point I wanted to die for them.

It wasn't until I started studying the scriptures in-depth that I slowly came to realize that the prophets I read about were nothing like the men I idolized. Then I started asking the hard questions like: Why didn't they actually prophesy/reveal/see? Why were they seeking to be popular with the world instead of condemning it? Why had they never publicly exercised the power of God that they supposedly held? Why were they so rich, well-dressed, and placed prominently in all gatherings?

Then it hit me that they're not prophets. They're pharisees. They're exactly like the church leaders that Jesus criticized in his day. I took this realization to God and he confirmed it. Since then I have renounced my idolatry and simply pity the church leaders and members for failing to see through this grand deception.

Unknown said...

Except for the very end sherry dew makes no mention of Jesus christ

Latter-Day Truths said...

"Unknown" -- I should have caught that! Thanks for the catch.

One thing I learned a long time ago is that people tend to talk about what they know about, or are at least interested in. I don't talk about asparagus because I don't like it and am not interested in it. In "The Dew's" case, I wonder which it is -- she doesn't know Jesus or isn't interested in him. Probably both.

Thanks again!

Fabio said...

All Sister Dew is doing is enhancing Elder Nelson credibility, the typical "Cult of personality" practice so prevalent in our day. Good points on this article, especially reminding us not to trust the arm of flesh.