The quote came from the Improvement Era in June 1945. It created quite a stir at that time as well.Ray Degraw wrote:That saying was never stated by an apostle or Prophet in a public setting as direct counsel, and it's opposite has been stated over and over and over again, so I wish it would die. We hang on to SO much that simply isn't accurate or reasonable or right - sometimes, ironcially, just so we have a whipping post. If the Church shouldn't hang on to air-brushed portrayals of past leaders, then we shouldn't hang on to stupid statements that obviously aren't pure doctrine or scripture - and we can't demand others drop them as "good quotes" if we aren't willing to drop them as "bad quotes," since, in reality, they were never actual authoritatively delivered quotes."When the brethern have spoken, the thinking stops."
The entire quote is
Frankly, it's a freakishly cult-y thing to have printed in a group's own material. And, appropriately, as Ray has pointed out it was NOT said by a prophet or apostle. In fact, this little gem apparently made it through the filtering process without the knowledge of the upper leaders of the church. It was so controversial that a minister from the First Unitarian Society wrote a letter decrying it. When President George Albert Smith learned of this he wrote a letter decrying the message as well stating thatWhen our leaders speak, the thinking has been done. When they propose a plan--it is God's plan. When they point the way, there is no other which is safe. When they give direction, it should mark the end of controversy. God works in no other way. To think otherwise, without immediate repentance, may cost one his faith, may destroy his testimony, and leave him a stranger to the kingdom of God. (Improvement Era June 1945 Ward Teacher's Message
Needless to say this was clearly some over-zealous TBM who had forgotten the words of Brigham Young indicating that such people who rely on others this way will NOT make it to the Celestial Kingdom. Nevertheless, as you have aptly demonstrated it has made it's way into Mormon culture. Let this show at least part of the reason why Mormon culture is the way it is (i.e. it's not all the fault of the leaders).The leaflet to which you refer, and from which you quote in your letter, was not "prepared" by "one of our leaders." However, one or more of them inadvertently permitted the paragraph to pass uncensored. By their so doing, not a few members of the Church have been upset in their feelings, and General Authorities have been embarrassed.
I am pleased to assure you that you are right in your attitude that the passage quoted does not express the true position of the Church. Even to imply that members of the Church are not to do their own thinking is grossly to misrepresent the true ideal of the Church...