Sacred Cow #8: Mormons Don’t Stone Their Prophets

What is a sacred cow?  My definition is anything that is believed based only on tradition, and has little to zero basis on actual fact. These beliefs are held so strongly that the “worshiper” declares “blasphemy!” to anyone that challenges said belief.

Sacred Cow #8: Mormons Don’t Stone Their Prophets

In a previous post, a commenter suggested the title of this article. At the time I thought it was a humorous comment, but didn’t really give it a second thought.  However, in my daily studies I kept coming across things that really showed it to be true, that in fact, we do stone our prophets.

I admit not the literal sense. In Old Testament days, prophets could be stoned without legal consequences. Today we must stone them in much more subtle ways.   Instead of physically stoning them, we pretend to support “modern revelation” and sit atop our proverbial Rameumptom so thankful that we are not “led away after the foolish traditions of our brethren” and oh so grateful that we are a “chosen and holy people” (Alma 31:17-18)

Like the Zoramites, we don’t need to kill the prophets; we just ignore them and change what they teach. The Zoramites did this and claimed they were taught that there was no Christ.

Joseph Fielding Smith said,

“It has become unpopular to preach the unadulterated gospel in the stakes of Zion.” –Life of Joseph Fielding Smith, Joseph Fielding Smith & John J. Stewart, Deseret Book 1972, page 211

Joseph Fielding Smith further explained that it is those of us that consider ourselves to be Latter-day Saints that are the ones following in the steps of the Zoramites when he wrote,

“Are we not too much inclined to blame the generations that are past for the breaking of the new and e everlasting covenant, and to think it is because of the great apostasy which followed the ministry of the Apostles in primitive times, that these troubles are coming upon the earth?  Perhaps we should wake up to the realization that it is because of the breaking of covenants, especially the new and everlasting covenant, which is the fullness of the Gospel  as it has been revealed , that the world is to be consumed by fire and few men left.  Since this punishment is to come at the time of the cleansing of the earth when Christ comes again, should not Latter-day Saints take heed unto themselves?  We have been given the new and everlasting covenant and many among us have broken it, and many are now breaking it; therefore all who are guilty of this offense will aid in bringing to pass this destruction in which they will find themselves swept from the earth when the great and dreadful day of the Lord shall come.”   Joseph Fielding Smith, Deseret News, Church Department, Oct 17, 1936, page 7

President J. Reuben Clark also warned of this happening among us when he said,

“I tell you we are beginning to follow along the course of the early Christian church. . . . There is creeping into our midst, and I warn you brethren about it, and I urge you to meet it, a great host of sectarian doctrines that have no place amongst us. The gospel in its simplicity, is to be found in the revelations, the teachings of the Prophet and the early leaders of the Church. We shall make no mistake if we follow them.” – Gen Conf. Oct 1944

Joseph Fielding Smith was very worried about this and wrote in his journal that he could see how we were, as President Clark pointed out, following the course of the early Christian church;

“It is a very apparent fact that we have traveled far and wide in the past 20 years [since his father’s death].  What the future will bring I do not know.  But if we drift as far afield from fundamental things in the next 20 years, what will be left of the foundation laid by the Prophet Joseph Smith?  It is easy for one who observes to see how the apostasy came about in the Primitive Church of Jesus Christ.  Are we not traveling the same road?” Joseph Fielding Smith, personal journal, Dec 28, 1938 and quoted in Life of Joseph Fielding Smith, Joseph Fielding Smith & John J. Stewart, Deseret Book 1972, page 212

  • What parts of the Gospel of Jesus Christ are unpopular to teach in the Stakes of Zion?
  • In what ways are we breaking the new and everlasting covenant?
  • In what ways are we following the course of the early Christian church?
  • In what ways have we drifted from the foundation laid by the Prophet Joseph Smith?

I think we’d better find out, since as the Prophet Joseph Smith taught,

“[I]f Zion will not purify herself, so as to be approved in all things in His (Gods) sight, He (God) will seek another people.” Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, page 18

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32 Responses to Sacred Cow #8: Mormons Don’t Stone Their Prophets

  1. James says:

    Good article. However I will have to dig deeper to figure out exactly what is meant by the “new and everlasting covenant”. Is it “everything” the prophets have restored including any commandment we don’t even know anything about anymore because it no longer discussed because the people ignored it so the prophets stopped speaking about it. Or is it just the temple covenants including marriage? I have noticed a few years ago there a strong push to get the members to stop modifying their garments to fit the styles in the stores or simple finding every excuse under the sun to not wear them at all. Now it not spoken of much at all if ever. I just had a daughter go through the temple to be endowed and sealed and she did not receive ANY command on how or when to handle the wearing of the garment. Not from the temple matron(that’s what my wife had) The stake leadership or the Bishop. Now maybe this was just a fluke and we filled her in to compensate but we have noticed we aren’t being asked about it anymore in the recommend interview either.

    • Richard says:

      I think that in you case of the garment instructions it must be what you call a fluke. I do know that we are asked at each of our recomend interviews by our Bishop and Stake President if we are wearing the regulation garments.

  2. Mary says:

    The very first thought I had after reading this was how much the Brethern have been stressing teach from the scriptures only! Leave the “gospel of so-and-so” at home where it belongs.

  3. Rob Osborn says:

    I see a trend in the church to get back to more spiritually guided and motivated dialogue in both church class and in teaching on the streets (missionaries). We are still missing the major points of the Book of Mormon and how to teach the doctrine. There is a pretty big push by the Brethren to accept others of other faiths and work together with them. We are certainly not an eliteist church and hopefully we can come to the understanding of the true doctrine of Christ as found in the Book of Mormon that “all” men need saved, noit just some elite group whom we think will be the celestial grade.

    In church I would like to see the church governed more off of the spirit than byt he “church handbook of instructions”. It seems as if nothing in church happens anymore without first reading the instruction book. Slowly we are turning into a government type of organization where there is an exact rule for everything and then it turns into a debate over “properness”. Gone are the days when you could discuss a topic and be guided by the spirit. Now it’s “what does the manual say”. Have we become machines incapable of reading the BoM and discerning for ourselves what truths are therein? Have we relegated our lives to the usage of endless manuals and instruction booklets and endless planning meanings that we have just plain forgotten what Christ’s church really is and what it teaches? Do we find ourselves spending the majority of our time in callings stuck in the procedural and endless meeting dogmas rather than acting upon inspiration and acting upon those impressions without having to have 100 hours of meetings to figure out the correct procedure for that particular thing?

    So when you ask if we have drifted from what Joseph Smith laid out, I have to say- very much so I am afraid. The BoM and D&C lay out the principles of the doctrine but we have turned it into procedural endless train of planning and meetings that doesn’t seem to offer those who are called much ability to act upon simple inspiration and the spirit. Callings now have “exact” rules rather than being flexibale. People feel infringed upon now when they aren’t let in on every little detail (why we have endless planning meetings)or asked for their opinion (again why we have endless meetings). Nowdays, no one understands the simpleness of the scriptural doctrine without some other source to explain it to them like a church manual or companion explanatory commentary book from Deseret Book.

    Even with the temple doctrine- no one knows what it truly means or understands it. No one wants to discuss it outside the temple…and yet, no one wants to take any time to explain it inside the temple either. So we have members (like my wife) who think the temple is strange and has no desire to go.

    and on and on and on…

    • D. Rolling Kearney says:

      Many of the books of the New Testament are merely letters from the apostles, setting the doctrines straight. If they had lived longer, and had had predecessors for 181 years, like the modern apostles, they would have ended up with giant tomes of instruction, too.

      Plus, today we are inundated with false doctrines from the world and other churches, and we sometimes accept these falsehoods without realizing it. We bring them to church, sometimes after having embraced them for years, and it can be hard for people to believe they have accepted falsehoods. Then, we don’t want our Brothers and Sisters to correct us, so the Brethren have to come out with official statements so people will listen.

      In the end, pride is part of it, but most people do not take the steps to limit their exposure to the false doctrines of the world, and so are led away.

      On this, see my article, Television and the Three Degrees of Glory.

    • G. Michael Craig says:

      Rob, how delightful! I had about given up hope for you, what with your apparent inability to distinguish the difference between socialism and Church welfare, when all of a sudden I find this message from you. I could have written it. It’s right on the money. Seriously, you hit the bullseye here. And I’m having the same trouble with my wife. Please allow me to relate to you from personal knowledge a matter of the practical application of these warnings by Joseph Fielding Smith: A number of years ago, the CES Coordinator at LSU was teaching an institute class at the Institute building off campus. And remember, CES Coordinators take instruction directly from the General Authorities. On this particular evening, he was illustrating the strong and steady shift to the left in the standards of the Church. He started out by holding his hands out in front of him, palms facing each other, with his left hand about a foot to the left of his right hand, and with his right hand as far to his right as he could position it. He said “Brothers and sisters, 150 years ago, the standards of the Church were here, (indicating by moving his right hand up and down) while the standards of the world were here (indicating by moving his left hand up and down). 100 years ago, the standards of the Church were here (indicating by moving his right hand to the position that his left hand had just been in), and the standards of the world were here (indicating by moving his left hand about a foot to his left). 50 years ago, the standards of the Church were here (indicating by moving his right hand another foot or so to the left, while the standards of the world were here (indicating by moving his left hand about another foot to his left. Today, the standards of the Church are here (indicating by moving his right hand about another foot to the left), while the standards of the world are here (indicating by moving his left hand another foot or so to his left). As you can see, the distance between the standards of the Church and the standards of the world has remained roughly constant over the years, but there has been a steady shift to the left in both”.
      I appreciated his frankness in confessing what I myself had witnessed. In the early years of the Church, LDS were the least likely people to be found accepting socialist government subsidies which were condemned by every prophet from Joseph Smith to Ezra Taft Benson. Nowadays it is rare to find a LDS who is not in receipt of every subsidy that is offered, from Social Security to Food Stamps. Also, it was once rare to find LDS who sent their children to public schools. Now it is rare to find one who doesn’t. Also, the conservative precepts of limited government and the importance of being born again which were once standard fare at General Conference, institute and seminary classes, and family home evenings and which are found in the Book of Mormon, are now but rarely even alluded to in the Church, and can get you released from your callings and even denied a temple recommend, sometimes even put on probation or worse, if you attempt to teach them. I’m speaking from my own experience as well as that of others I know. The great apostasy prophesied in 2nd Nephi 28:14 and in Mormon 8 is here in full force. Each of us has to decide individually to hold fast to that iron rod, because all around us will be “friends” and fellow LDS who are and will be abandoning it, and falling away into mists of darkness. The Book of Mormon is my personal iron rod. That’s what Boyd K. Packer said. That’s what I say.

      • C Swain says:

        G. Michael Craig how I wish that I could talk to you in person, many questions to ask you.
        I do sense your frustrations & anger, & I TOO feel the SAME. I wish to remind you that we need to follow the counsel given by our bishops, stake presidents and give it over to God. Hard to hear and do, yes!! But it’s really not on our heads, we are not responsible for it. I agree it IS frustrating. (Esp. when it is building clean up time & those with hand outs are not around, surprise, surprise.)
        I have come to accept that it is between them & the Lord, I have my own mess to account for. We still have to have compassion for others, whether we agree with their actions so that when we make mistakes that compassion can be applied to us. I know I want it. Hold Firm Bro. Craig!

        • C Swain says:

          Sweet, I have some questions if you really do not mind my bothering you. I love sources and prophets say it best. swainsrusgmail fill in the ats and dots of the com world. Thank you very much.

  4. Peter60 says:

    I joined the church at age 24 about 37 years ago and it seems to me that members of the church on the whole have been growing in faith since then. The book of Ephesians tells us that the reason for prophets, apostles and the church organization is to keep us from being led away. So the church maintains a kind of hands on stance. If it were not so, some area’s of the church would begin to do and teach things that are contrary to true doctrine.

    The early Christian church leaders struggled with this as can be seen in the epistles. After 2000 years, the church has changed from the “sacrifice all in order to be saved” doctrine that Christ taught in the 4 gospels to “you can do anything you want and be saved” doctrine.

    The hope is that the church will provide through teaching and covenants, a solid foundation upon which we can individually choose to study and live the gospel and become spiritually self reliant.

    Now with the internet pounding at our doors, it is all that we can do to keep the world out.

  5. Peter60, you said: “I joined the church at age 24 about 37 years ago and it seems to me that members of the church on the whole have been growing in faith since then.”

    I hope you’re joking. When your Sunday School manuals are getting more and more watered down every year, and it becomes more and more unpopular to teach deeper doctrine, and the Saints are becoming more and more accepted by the world–ITS NOT BECAUSE THEY’RE BECOMING MORE RIGHTEOUS.

    As the world becomes more and more wicked, the gap between the Saints and the World should be widening. Instead, it’s becoming more narrow.

    • Pat says:

      From the age of 14 through adult, our Sunday School manuals are the Standard Works, so how can they be watered down?

      • G. Michael Craig says:

        Pat, they get “watered down” by shifting emphasis, as well as by teachers refusing to teach those parts of the lesson that they are not comfortable with because they are socialists. Just because the standard works are the basis for the lessons doesn’t necessarily mean that any and all precepts in our standard works are given equal consideration. For example, when is the last time you heard 2nd Nephi 28:14 emphasized, or Mormon 8:34-41, or Helaman 6:38-39, or Ether 8:24-25? Several years ago, the Gospel Doctrine Manual was the same as the 1981 BYU Manual For the Study of The Book of Mormon. It contained a number of quotes from Presidents J. Reuben Clark Jr. and Ezra Taft Benson which were warnings about increasing numbers of what they referred to as “ravening wolves” in priesthood leadership positions in the Church at the ward, stake, and even general level. Our instructor at the time skipped over those quotes. Didn’t even acknowledge them. Later when I asked him why, he said he didn’t want to weaken anyones testimony. In other words, it was more important to him to hide the fact that “many” of us are being taught the “precepts of men” as Nephi termed it, by our priesthood leaders, than to show confidence in us by allowing us to be aware of this danger, and thus make dead certain that we are at all times worthy of the companionship of the Holy Ghost and thus the gift of discernment. I think too many of us don’t appreciate the fact that the wheat and the tares are truly being allowed to mature together now. Pres. Benson said it has to be this way in order for our Savior to determine which ones of us are truly in tune with the spirit, born again, and contrariwise, which ones will allow themselves to be misled. Our lessons have indeed been watered down over the years. It is up to each us individually to immerse ourselves in the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon, and be absolutely certain our lives are in full conformity to all the precepts they teach, not just the more popular ones.

        • Pat says:

          Bro. Craig,

          At first I was intrigued by some of your comments in this post and in other posts you made today. But then I realized who you are, and I know the truth.

          • G. Michael Craig says:

            Please don’t keep me in suspense. Who am I and what is the truth?

          • G. Michael Craig says:

            Pat, I’m still waiting for your answer.

          • Dean Hamilton says:

            Pat, please don’t leave the rest of us in suspense either! I’ve been reading G. Michael Craig’s comments with desire to know more about his views and who he is… then I saw your comment and now I am fully intrigued. A Google search merely returned a Dentist in PA by the same name.

            Of course, if you don’t have the courage to follow up on your post…

            While i’m waiting, Bro. Craig, if you want to contact me with more info I’d love to hear from you. libertyfordean_at_gmail_dot_com

        • Pat says:

          GMC and Dean,

          There are no reply options to your posts, so answering here.

          Sorry, guys, to dissappoint. Privacy matters come into play here. However, living in the same stake for many years qualifies.

          • G. Michael Craig says:

            Pat, I am unclear about what you mean by “privacy matters”, but we are all adults here. I am not the least concerned about privacy in this matter. If you know me better than I know myself, it seems to me that a sense of proper decorum and concern for my eternal welfare should provide you with at least adequate motivation to share that knowledge with all of us. I know a number of LDS “Pats” around here, male and female, so there is little chance that I could determine your identity, even if I wanted to, which is not the case. This website provides us with a forum for discussing doctrinal issues that are generally off limits during Church meetings, so lets not waste the opportunity. A truly objective discussion about a topic should benefit everyone, lift all boats equally as it were. So what are you waiting for? Again: Who am I and what is the truth? PLEASE!

          • G. Michael Craig says:

            Dean, I emailed you at the address you included above. Did you receive it?

        • L. Marie Brown says:

          “God Speed”……. one question for the knowlegeable here do you really think that being on goverment assistance makes one less desirable to our Father in Heaven and fit for his kingdom?…..I have been ignorant to this, but I have been aware that people in general will look down upon us….. I always felt as if it were the problem of that person and that possibley his heart was in a bad place….I am concered about all this Black and White thinking as the reason I receive SSI is Borderline Personality Dissociative Ability, and one of the traits is black and white thinking, all good or all evil. Medicade has paid alot for me to be able to have a gray area, with its neither good nor evil it just is, not the perp or victim but a witness…..I stand as witness to the

          • L. Marie Brown says:

            That our Father is a Mysterious God. “Peace Be Still”

          • G. Michael Craig says:

            Marie, I am truly sorry that you have such a mental disorder. I feel for you and hope you are able to control it and improve it. If a private fund were established whereby people like me could contribute to your medical costs, I would pay my fair share, or as much as I was able to, in spite of the depression we are currently in, and in spite of my own economic challenges. Such contributions are called charity. When the government gives us a benefit of some kind, it is not charity. It is theft, the coerced taking from some and giving to others. It frustrates the plan of salvation because it destroys charity, which involves the critical element of agency. Plus, all monies taken from us by the government for the purpose of funding government benefits are reduced by

          • JMM says:

            I think the point is this: We have made the government our god, and we look to government to take care of us. 30 years ago, someone in dire straits went to the Bishop or Branch President for help, and they earned their keep as much as possible by doing tasks that needed to be done. Nowadays, they don’t go to the church for assistance; they go to government. And we as a church people are not paying fast offerings the way we should, nor taking care of those in need, so the fault is spread about, but welfare is the adversary’s counterfeit.

        • L. Marie Brown says:

          I have noteabley received all the medical treatment deemed neccesary for my mental health. Thank you for offering! Yes there is much fraud and much waste. However, I know that im not one of those. I can understand what your saying, and I am on your side, so how do we resolve it? The goverment is what it is today, and I personally can see where they are trying to improve, but in the process there will be much Mayhem. Taxes right or wrong has been apart of life wasnt Mary and Joseph on their way to pay taxes? Needless to say I feel as if the alotment that I have received has been charitable the giver may have the problem. What if the Goverment said we here you we will no longer take the tax to every Church care for your own, to every nation care for your own, to those

          • L. Marie Brown says:

            with out a church fend for yourself? What? our problem is larger than life my dear Brother. The solution hangs in the balance of foretold Prophcies……For today to wit the Charities and understand that of the poor and their standings with God and how they live is treading on dangerous ground. I have yet to have a Bishop advise me to leave my income and provide for me, but instead the asked 10% of it to the church. And I did both under the letter of the Law and the Spirit of the Law and I have been given more than I have ever asked for. He did restore me to Sanity and continues to bless me with more than I need.

        • C Swain says:

          BUT remember that the time 4 “warning” is gone. We’ve reaped the changes, now it will be sown. These changes that we R “sowing” NOW in our government were executed way before the 1990’s. It’s too late. While I agree some people have found the truth to be hard at church, w/ the deliberate dumbing down at school we have 2 teach watered down b/c they won’t get it. I didn’t get it! I was so lost until this year. I started homeschooling my kids & researching & writing curriculum. I AM dumbfounded at the loss of education I had received. I still can not believe where we’ve allowed this nation to dwindle 2! Shiny gadgets/purses/shoes/stupid reality tv. We traded EVERYTHING 4 vanity. I am thankful the Lord led me 2 this path & I am awake, saying “baa” NO more!

    • Robert says:

      I just caught this comment and would make an observation. Having served in Stake and Bishoperic callings, plus talking to others that have done the same. At least 50-54% of the church does not pay tithing. That is not a deep doctrine of any sort. If members of the church can’t wrap their minds around a simple doctrine, they will be (spiritually unprepared (clueless) for anything deeper then that.

      I can tell you for an absolute fact that there are people in your Sunday School that appear to be stall worth members that have weak testimonies. If you knew, it would surprise you and everybody else.

      Stay with the manuals, as they are carefully reviewed all the way up to the First Presidency and approved by the First Presidency.

  6. Biz says:

    They will stone the Prophets when polygamy becomes legal in the US and the Prophets ask us to live Celestial Marriage the real way through the plurality of wives. Then we will really see who will follow the Prophet and who will stone him.

  7. Andrew Curtis says:

    Nice article

  8. G. Michael Craig says:

    about 75% through waste, fraud, and incompetence, leaving only 25% of the original amount available for those who need it. By contrast, charity involves close to 100% of the freely donated amount getting to it’s intended beneficiary. You apparently feel that you have a legitimate need for assistance, which may very well be the case, but tens of millions of other Americans feel the same way. It is largely the attempt by our government to provide cradle to grave, womb to the tomb welfare for all these people that has bankrupted our nation. You apparently need help, but stealing from your fellow citizens by way of coerced tax-funded wasteful government benefits is contrary to agency, and is thus anathema to the Gospel.

    • C Swain says:

      The 1 thing the Lord blessed me with is that I don’t care nor fear what is thought of me, only what God thinks of me. I have already shared some of what I have discovered with a member of our bishopric, among a few others. I have shared it, now they are responsible for what they do with it. swainsrus gmail.
      I grew a strong backbone when at the early age of 18 my family and I were already contending with secret combinations. I barely had a testimony of the BoM (my own fault) and here we were thrown into the thick of things. I didn’t even know how to spell gadianton. This testified that s.c. were real, evil and much gnashing of teeth. I learned to trust in the Lord and WHAT a testimony builder. Hoped to not repeat that but, latter days is here.

  9. JMM says:

    Truly, we do stone the prophets by turning our ears away. Take Spencer Kimball’s talk about the idols we worship: “we are a warlike people, easily distracted from our assignment of preparing for the coming of the Lord”. http://www.warlikepeople.com. Hugh Nibley commented that people went to that conference, listened to his talk, and promptly ignored it because they didn’t want to hear it.

    Bro. Craig, I’ve often looked around at the fashionable women and Young Women with their spike heels and lacy clothes and thought of Isaiah’s warnings. You’re spot on!

    How many other things have we ignored? How many teachings have been taken away because we don’t want to hear them? Anyone who thinks we don’t stone the prophets, figuratively at any rate, needs to take a closer look.

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