Tag Archives: prophet

Can’t we all just get along

I am a Canadian living in Canada, so I am an outside observer when it comes to the US election. It is crazy how long the campaign lasts for (here it is about two months), and how mean the tone has become.

I’ve recently read a BYU Speech by Hugh B Brown from 1968 called “God is the Gardener“. I don’t know what was happening at that time, but he commented that “our nation is engaged in an abrasive and increasingly strident process of electing a president.” Before getting into the meat of his speech, he made a couple of other comments:

Beware of those who feel obliged to prove their own patriotism by calling into question the loyalty of others. Be skeptical of those who attempt to demonstrate their love of country by demeaning its institutions.

and

Strive to develop a maturity of mind and emotion and a depth of spirit that will enable you to differ with others on matters of politics without calling into question the integrity of those with whom you differ.

and

At a time when radicals of the right or left would inflame race against race, avoid those who preach evil doctrines of racism. When our Father declared that we, His children, were brothers and sisters, He did not limit this relationship on the basis of race.

and

Patriots have never demanded of good men the hatred of another country as proof of one’s love for his own. Acquire tolerance and compassion for others and for those of a different political persuasion or race or religion.

It’s fascinating the words spoken almost 50 years ago would have such meaning today… A prophet, seer and revelator indeed!

When is a prophet a prophet?

Often critics of the Church will bring up something that a prophet or apostle has done that was wrong (in their opinion) and ask how a man of God could do something like that. Defenders of the Church often then reply with this quote from Joseph Smith:

“a prophet [is] a prophet only when he [is] acting as such”

History of the Church 5:265

I definitely understand the concept, but I have to admit that seems kind of like a cop-out. It kind of gives the impression that a prophet can be a prophet, and then decide to be mean, and just say that he wasn’t being a prophet while he was being mean.

I heard a quote mentioned on a recent FairMormon podcast that I think gives more clarity on this topic. The quote was, “when God makes the prophet, he does not unmake the man.”

The full quote is from David O McKay, and is as follows:

Someone has said that when God makes the prophet, he does not unmake the man. I believe that, though being “born anew,” and being entitled to new life, new vigor, new blessings, yet the old weaknesses may still remain. The adversary stands by, ever eager and ready to attack and strike us at our weakest point.

David O. McKay, “The Divine Church“, Conference Report, April 1962, pp. 5-9

For additional thoughts on this, check out this By Common Consent post from a couple of years ago

A few laughs…

An usher at one of the wards that I visit had a few (sort of) funny jokes to share with me when I visited a few weeks ago…

🙂


Why are we the only church that sings “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet”?

All the rest are non-prophet (profit) organizations.


What was the last thing that Jesus said to his disciples?

If you want to be in the picture, come to this side of the table.


Moses started out his life as a basket case. He was in denial (the Nile), but finally decided to go with the flow


182nd Semiannual General Conference – Post-conference notes

Another conference has come and gone. It was excellent. I enjoyed almost all of the talks, and definitely felt the Spirit. In fact, when President Monson announced the change in the missionary service age, I felt a rush of the Holy Spirit. I wasn’t hoping for a change and therefore wasn’t expecting a change, but it was a welcome change. The feeling of the Spirit I felt was quite unexpected, but wonderful!

It always good to hear from all 15 of our prophet, seers, and revelators. Some of the men are obviously suffering with health challenges, but it is wonderful to see them and hear them. President Packer looked pretty good. Elder Hales looked way better than he did a year ago. At that time he seemed incredibly frail, and kind of puffy. I’m not sure if he was taking some steroids for something, but he looks more like his normal self than before. It was nice to see.

Elder Oaks sure spoke with authority when he spoke about caring for children, and Elder Holland sure spoke with passion about Christ and the need for disciples.

Probably my favourite line in conference was Elder Andersen who said that doctrine is taught by all 15 prophets, seers, and revelators, not in one line in one talk to one group. It was a good definition.

There has definitely been lots for me to think about over the coming months. I resolve to do better.


Read the recaps and other notes from the 182nd Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

“The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life”

This is one of my all-time favourite quotes. We sometimes can get into a debate about the “spirit” of the law and the “letter” of the law. Which is better? Which is right? Which do we follow?

Apparently this was written to one of Joseph F Smith’s sons who was on a mission. He had asked his dad about whether to anoint with oil with the right hand.

The question you ask about anointing seems very simple to me. I think it is the general practice to pour the oil with the right hand. I suppose because most people are right-handed. But there is no law or rule against anointing . . . with the left. We shake with the right hand. In the endowments the signs and tokens are made and given with the right hand. When we lay but one hand on the sick it should be the right. We take the Sacrament with the right hand. The practice makes the rule. But always remember that it is not the rule, or practice, which gives life or force, but the true spirit. There is no good in splitting hairs nor in tickey-technical rules. “The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.”

Scott Kenney, ed., From Prophet to Son: Advice of Joseph F. Smith to His Missionary Sons, p. 93.
Church History and Modern Revelation, 1:103.

The practice makes the rule, but the rule doesn’t give force. Only truth or the Spirit gives force. I guess according to President Smith, the debate is over… the Spirit wins!

The temple recommend of a prophet, seer and revelator

I mentioned before that back in March, Elder M Russell Ballard came to do some training. He was physically at the stake centre beside the Toronto Ontario Temple, but the training was for all of Eastern Canada. Leading up to the meeting, we were told that there would be a special temple session that Elder Ballard would attend. We were to let the temple know if we could go so they knew how many people to expect.

I know the person who was checking the temple recommends that day, and he told me that Elder Ballard had a special recommend. It was NOT the same as ours. There was no barcode on it, no expiry date and all three members of the First Presidency sign it. Neat!

This of course brings to mind a few questions:

  • Did he have an interview when he first got it?
  • Does he have the same recommend since he first became an apostle?
  • Do they get new ones if something on the recommend changes, like a change to the First Presidency, or even the new Church logo from a while ago?

“A prophet’s visit”

The Church News has a nice article (with pictures) about a recent trip by President Monson to Nauvoo and Kirtland. I have never been to Nauvoo, but have been to Kirtland many times. It’s about a 3-4 hour drive from here. I love being there. I don’t generally talk like this, but there really is a special feeling being in the same place that the early Church leaders were in. In my mind’s eye I can see them working on the temple, living in the houses, and playing in the fields. It just makes everything seem more real.

The article is quite detailed, but starts off this way:

President Thomas S. Monson made brief visits to Nauvoo, Ill., and Kirtland, Ohio, on Oct. 9 and 10. It was the first time since he became president of the Church on Feb. 3, 2008, that he has visited the sites steeped in Church history.

Mormon Prophet Tattoos

You’ve got to see it to believe it… a man has tattoos of Joseph Smith to Gordon B. Hinckley tattooed on his back!

179th Annual General Conference – Sunday Morning Session

179th_annual_general_conference

I ended up going to the Church this morning sans family for the first session. Two of our three kids are sick, and so my wife stayed home with them. I left a little early as I had an interview before. I also had an interview afterward. It was nice being able to refer to the talks in providing some counsel. Overall, we had 100 people at Church for the broadcast.

President Thomas S. Monson conducted

The choir music was awesome!

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf ** might use this as a 4th Sunday lesson **

  • today is Palm Sunday
  • the flame of new theories fade
  • the gospel is the ultimate formula for happiness and success
  • stay with it
  • we don’t go after eternal life in a sprint… we endure
  • for some, spectator discipleship is preferred
  • we need to get off the sidelines and practice what we preach
  • gospel has the power to fill any emptiness

Elder Neil L. Andersen

  • knows with perfect clarity that Jesus is the Christ by the power of the Holy Ghost
  • note: he was very humble while speaking
  • he knows he is not what he must become
  • expressed gratitude and bore testimony

Elder Steven E. Snow

  • get on with life
  • change is an essential part of life
  • follow the prophets
  • have faith
  • be of good cheer

Sister Barbara Thompson

  • the time is far spent
  • increase our faith
  • no matter what our families look like, we can strengthen our own families, or help strengthen other families

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland ** might use this as a 4th Sunday lesson **

  • spoke of those who are lonely
  • recounted Christ’s last week
  • Christ said “why has thou forsaken me”, but the Father was probably closer than at any other time

President Thomas S. Monson ** might use this as a 4th Sunday lesson **

  • since last conference, the world has changed
  • moral footing is slipping
  • would be easy to become discourage
  • blessings as members of the Church
  • how do we have joy despite the challenges we face?
  • though the storm clouds gather, our love of the gospel will sustain us
  • fear not, be of good cheer, the future is as bright as your faith

Read the recaps from the other sessions of General Conference:

Follow the Prophet

Inspired by my son’s drawing on Monday night, I’ve been thinking about the phrase “follow the prophet”. Generally I’m one of those people that think that too many members blindly follow. The current President of the Church is “talked up” so much that they seem infallible (even though the Church doesn’t officially teach that). I concede, however, that is hard to fall somewhere in the middle. It’s easy for member to view their prophet that way. It’s easy for non-members to view the man as just a man. How do you give him the respect and honour he deserves, without “worshipping” him?

One thing I do know for sure, is that if we are following the counsel of our prophets, we will be happier, healthier, and more successful. That might seem like a pretty sweeping statement, but consider what the prophets have taught us… families are forever, don’t gamble, don’t look at pornography, be healthy, serve others, save money, don’t go into debt, have food storage, have a garden, etc. I often find that if I am having a struggle with something in my life, there is probably a principle that I haven’t been following as closely as I should.