"Follow the Brethren"

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Curt Sunshine
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Re: "Follow the Brethren"

Post by Curt Sunshine » 09 Sep 2014, 15:42

Haven, I didn't mean that all modern Catholics revere the Pope and do whatever he says. I said that **structurally** we are more like Catholicism than like Proestantism - which means we have a more similar hierarchical structure to the Catholic Church than to Protestant churches. That's factually indisputable - to the point that those structures have opposite names (high church vs. low church). Our worship services are low church, but the temple is high church - which, btw, causes distinct issues with how many members react to Sacrament Meeting vs. the temple.

Even within Protestantism, many evangelical Christians preach a strong adherence to every word in the Bible (or, at least, nearly every word in the New Testament) - which, essentially, is a "follow the prophets" approach to understanding and obeying God.

Having said that, many devout Catholics view the Pope almost exactly like many devout Mormons view the President of the LDS Church: as God's unique mouthpiece on Earth. In places like South and Central America, Italy, Spain, etc. that is obvious and, in many cases, what we would call extreme. Also, local priests are seen even more so than local Mormon Bishops in many areas.

As for the Bible, the Mosaic Law makes our own obsession with rules seem like a walk in the park on a sunny day in many ways. Many of Paul's writings in the New Testament deal with rules and laws and commands - as much as he focuses on faith and grace in many places. Jesus' words aren't exactly a free-for-all when it comes to commandments and obedience. ("If ye love me, keep my commandments," isn't exactly indicative of a love fest.)

All I'm saying is that "follow the Brethren" absolutely is not a uniquely Mormon thing. I think we emphasize it too much, but it isn't close to the extreme in comparison with many other religions or historically.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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mom3
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Re: "Follow the Brethren"

Post by mom3 » 09 Sep 2014, 18:08

The Church just updated the Gospel Topics section of LDS.org. The following quote is found in the article Gospel Learning

https://www.lds.org/topics/gospel-study?lang=eng
The Word of God
Our search for truth will be fruitless if we neglect the Source of truth, God Himself. As we seek learning by study and also by faith, we continually turn to the word of God as found in the scriptures, the words of living prophets, and personal revelation through prayer.
Linked to it is my favorite present church President - Dieter F. Uchtdorf - The last 3rd is the out of the park message.

https://www.lds.org/broadcasts/article/ ... t-is-truth
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

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Shawn
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Re: "Follow the Brethren"

Post by Shawn » 19 May 2015, 16:38

I am troubled by the “Follow the Prophet” slogan and the excessive praise of men. I enjoyed the lesson “Jesus Christ, Our Savior and Redeemer” from the Ezra Taft Benson manual. The following week’s lesson was not so enjoyable - it was “Joseph Smith, an Instrument in the Hands of the Lord.”

President Benson said “It is generally understood that the faith of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rests on the claim that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God…” Really? My faith rests on Jesus Christ.

He also said:
Thus did the Prophet Joseph Smith climax his earth life and fulfill the mortal part of his divinely appointed mission. This mortal mission, he made clear, was not to end until fully completed. Like the mission of the Savior, “a lamb slain before the foundation of the world,” Joseph was truly foreordained to his great mission.
When referring to “a lamb slain before the foundation of the world,” no one besides Jesus Christ should be mentioned.

He called Joseph “a man of destiny, a man of character, a man of courage, a man of deep spirituality, a God-like prophet of the Lord, a truly noble and great one of all time.”

Here are other quotes from church presidents with emphasis added:
I honor and revere the name of Joseph Smith. I delight to hear it; I love it. I love his doctrine.
-Brigham Young (https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-br ... 7?lang=eng)

I thought, why must God’s nobility, the salt of the earth, the most exalted of the human family, and the most perfect types of all excellence, fall victims to the cruel, fiendish hate of incarnate devils?
-John Taylor (https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-jo ... 9?lang=eng)

No one that was as intimately acquainted with him as I was could find any fault with him, so far as his moral character was concerned.

One day he called the brethren of the Twelve Apostles together and other prominent Elders of the Church to appoint them to their several labors and missions. Each sat and waited with much anxiety to hear the word of the Prophet concerning his future duties. They felt that they were in the presence of a superior being.
-Lorenzo Snow (https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-of ... h?lang=eng)

In many places I have met people who have studied our faith. Some of them would say: “I could accept everything that you people teach were it not for this man Joseph Smith. If you would only eliminate him!” The day can never come when we will do that. As well might we undertake to leave out Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God.
-Heber J. Grant (https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-he ... 2?lang=eng)
No wonder Mormons are accused of worshipping prophets as heroes!
Last edited by Shawn on 17 Feb 2016, 15:50, edited 2 times in total.

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Holy Cow
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Re: "Follow the Brethren"

Post by Holy Cow » 19 May 2015, 19:51

Shawn wrote: President Benson said “It is generally understood that the faith of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rests on the claim that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God…” Really? My faith rests on Jesus Christ.
Shawn, I'm with you on this. The prophet worship gets very old. I can't stand when I hear "Praise to the Man." When I go to church, I try to keep my focus on Jesus Christ and his gospel. I get very frustrated when there are weeks, sometimes multiples weeks in succession, when nothing is said in Sacrament Meeting, Sunday School, or Priesthood, about Jesus Christ. I'm happy to be teaching a Primary class now, with the lessons focused on the New Testament, because it's very basic, and it's all about Christ. To me, that's what church is all about.
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Shawn
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Re: "Follow the Brethren"

Post by Shawn » 20 May 2015, 10:19

I acknowledge that I do hear more about following Heavenly Father and Jesus than prophets in church, but some things should never be said. Things like:

-Joseph's "private and public character was unimpeachable"
-Joseph and Hyrum were "the most exalted of the human family, and the most perfect types of all excellence"
-No one "could find any fault with him, so far as his moral character was concerned"
-His "life was pure."
-People "felt that they were in the presence of a superior being."
-He was "God-like"

It really sounds like we are taught that Joseph was perfect. It's too bad that these things are currently in our offical manuals. We don't even need a whole chapter about Joseph Smith every year. Excessive, unfounded praise of the character of a man is not part of the gospel or offical doctrine. Well, I guess it could be viewed as doctrine since it is reguarly taught.

Of course, this is not only about Joseph. All past and present general authorities are spoken of with excessive veneration.

It doesn't seem like any general authority is doing or saying anything to curb the hero worship, except for President Uchtdorf. I really hope tradition is tossed out and he becomes the next president somehow.

I don't know what to do with this information. I just need to follow the Spirit.

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Re: "Follow the Brethren"

Post by Curt Sunshine » 20 May 2015, 10:57

I take those statements in the time they were said with an understanding that those who said them either knew Joseph and loved him deeply or had parents who fit that description. I see them more like eulogies than anything else - and I can deal with hyperbole in eulogies.

I don't like the impact those statements still are having, and I don't like people now seeing through totally rose-colored glasses, but I understand and even can respect the original statements.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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Shawn
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Re: "Follow the Brethren"

Post by Shawn » 20 May 2015, 11:14

Ray, I would probably be okay with the hyperbole if the statements were not repeated in our offical lesson manuals. I do appreciate your level-headedness regarding this.

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Re: "Follow the Brethren"

Post by DarkJedi » 20 May 2015, 11:24

Holy Cow wrote:
Shawn wrote: President Benson said “It is generally understood that the faith of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rests on the claim that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God…” Really? My faith rests on Jesus Christ.
Shawn, I'm with you on this. The prophet worship gets very old. I can't stand when I hear "Praise to the Man." When I go to church, I try to keep my focus on Jesus Christ and his gospel. I get very frustrated when there are weeks, sometimes multiples weeks in succession, when nothing is said in Sacrament Meeting, Sunday School, or Priesthood, about Jesus Christ. I'm happy to be teaching a Primary class now, with the lessons focused on the New Testament, because it's very basic, and it's all about Christ. To me, that's what church is all about.
+1 :thumbup:
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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Curt Sunshine
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Re: "Follow the Brethren"

Post by Curt Sunshine » 20 May 2015, 12:22

Yep, Shawn, the inclusion of them in the manuals is where the problem lies.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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Re: "Follow the Brethren"

Post by FaithfulSkeptic » 20 May 2015, 13:21

I attended Gospel Principles class with my TBM DW this past Sunday. I don't remember how this came up, but my DW spoke up and brought up the point that we are assured that "the prophet will never lead us astray!" :crazy: Bless her heart. I didn't have the guts to bring up the fact that I don't believe this at all, either in public or in private. :silent:

I think most of us could bring up several examples of when prophets (even modern-day prophets in GC) have led us astray, or at least said things that were not true or correct. Not everything that comes out of the mouth of a prophet is true or good. Prophets are human too.

This plus the ETB lesson on Flooding the Earth with the Book of Mormon. It was a long day last Sunday! :yawn:
I know of no sign on the doors of our meetinghouses that says, “Your testimony must be this tall to enter.” Dieter F. Uchtdorf, October 2014

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