Prophets Superseding and Contradictions

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Kipper
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Prophets Superseding and Contradictions

Post by Kipper » 29 Mar 2021, 07:46

I'm pretty sure that there was a discussion and explanation in one of these forums awhile back about prophets old and new who, over time, contradicted each other over important doctrine. Reason I am bringing this up is during out Zoom "worship service" couple weeks ago it was mentioned that prophets will never contradict one another and that's why you can always trust what they say is directly from the lord. This was from our former SP DW. Since I am at a place in my life where, I while I sustain but don't trust church leadership this has bothered me for the past two weeks, I can't let it go like many other things I have a problem with. Can I get some thoughts and maybe some references so I can sort this out in my own head? I understand it is not my place to add to those kinds of statements in a class settings but I am at a point where I mention my thoughts to my own DW and I need to revisit the topic first. TIA.

Roy
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Re: Prophets Superseding and Contradictions

Post by Roy » 29 Mar 2021, 09:52

I have definitely been there. I remember talking to a member of the SP after a priesthood meeting in which he had said the church was perfect. I was asking him how the church could be perfect if the church continues to change. Is it possible that the word "perfect" was misapplied? He asked repeatedly if I was ok and how my testimony was. I told him that I was fine, I just do not feel that the word "perfect" seems to fit in a technical and academic sense. He then said that he doesn't know much about that because he's just a simple farmer. I ended up feeling gaslit and condescended to.
Kipper wrote:
29 Mar 2021, 07:46
prophets will never contradict one another and that's why you can always trust what they say is directly from the lord.
Similar to my "church is perfect" story, I believe that this SP is going further to compliment/puff up the church than official church channels would go. Your former SP does not need to back up what he says like official church channels might be called upon to do. I believe the official church standard is that the brethren collectively speak for God. I imagine in my head a venn diagram. That part where the messages of all the brethren overlap is the core of the gospel message. Like a venn diagram, there are also parts that do not overlap and it is in these parts where we may find contradictions (especially if we include prophets of differing time periods).

In the church we tend to use "puffery." This is not unlike saying that our favorite sports team is the best or even the GOAT (Greatest of all Time). I remember another time when in EQ when the instructor asked if anyone knew the word "panacea". I raised my hand and said that it meant a cure all. The brother then continued reading the manual where it said that the gospel is a panacea or cure all for everything that is wrong in the world. I felt embarrassed. To make such claims made me feel like snake oil salesmen (that would literally claim that their concoctions would cure anything and everything).

I have gotten to the point that I interpret such things as I do other commercials. "Better ingredients, better pizza" ? Papa Johns was sued and admitted in court that this was just marketing "puffery" or exaggeration. They actually get their ingredients from the same limited suppliers that other pizza chains use. "Best coffee in town" ? Ummm .... Congratulations. I have had in depth conversations with my children about how commercials often present things in an unrealistic way in trying to sell the product. ;)
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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nibbler
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Re: Prophets Superseding and Contradictions

Post by nibbler » 29 Mar 2021, 15:04

Consider the third fundamental of the 14 fundamentals of following the prophet (emphasis added):
The living prophet is more important to us than a dead prophet.

God’s revelation to Adam did not instruct Noah how to build the Ark. Noah needed his own revelation. Therefore the most important prophet so far as you and I are concerned is the one living in our day and age to whom the Lord is currently revealing His will for us. Therefore the most important reading we can do is any of the words of the prophet contained each month in our Church Magazines. Our instructions about what we should do for each six months are found in the General Conference addresses which are printed in the Church magazine.

Beware of those who would set up the dead prophets against the living prophets, for the living prophets always take precedence.
Why would this counsel exist if prophets never contradicted one another?

This is a tough subject because:
1) The church changes. It's a living organization, it adapts to survive. Adapting requires change.
2) The culture has the tendency to label all current teachings immutable "doctrines" and once a teaching changes it gets retroactively downgraded to a "policy," which is okay to change.
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nibbler
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Re: Prophets Superseding and Contradictions

Post by nibbler » 29 Mar 2021, 15:20

While not an important doctrine, there's the very recent example of the word Mormon. About 10 years ago in my ward a lot of emphasis was placed on every member creating an "I'm a Mormon" profile. A few years ago in my ward identifying as "Mormon" became taboo. Maybe not the best example, the underpinnings have a lot of nuance, but that's how my local community reacted to direction received from leadership.

Another recent example, the November 5th (2015) policy excluding children of same-sex marriages from baptism (POX) and its reversal a few years later. Communication was pretty clear, both the introduction and later dropping of the policy were considered "the will of the Lord" at the time. A contradiction? Did the lord change his mind? Was the policy right for the year 2015 but wrong for the year 2019? Who knows.

Brigham Young provided a classic example with the Adam-God doctrine/theory.

Joseph Smith's teachings on the nature of god evolved over time.
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nibbler
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Re: Prophets Superseding and Contradictions

Post by nibbler » 29 Mar 2021, 15:27

I should also point out... change isn't a bad thing. If we believe that god will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the kingdom then we have to be open to change. I think what's at play is a little contradiction/wrestle along the boundaries of continued revelation and the teaching that god is the same today, yesterday, and forever.

Also the idea that the prophets will never lead us astray comes from Official Declaration 1. I think it was Wilford Woodruff's desperate attempt to convince the saints to abandon polygamy while keeping the church from fracturing along division lines. It was him saying, "Look, the Lord isn't going to steer us wrong. Get on board. You can trust me."

Plus I think certainty provides comfort for many. Some find comfort in trusting that they can always trust their leaders. They don't need to wrestle to figure out god's will, that's the leader's job.
I'm not running away. Im already gone.
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Roy
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Re: Prophets Superseding and Contradictions

Post by Roy » 30 Mar 2021, 11:03

I have heard the following statement from a friend: "If prophets are capable of getting things wrong then how will we know when they are right and when they are wrong?" I understand that this can shake people's faith but really where in our lives do we have any information source that is 100% correct 100% of the time?

Also, the idea of prophetic perfection is decidedly unbiblical.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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SamBee
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Re: Prophets Superseding and Contradictions

Post by SamBee » 30 Mar 2021, 15:43

I'm not a fan of it either. It's not a case of something like Star Trek where episode 3 of one season contradicts a minor point in episode 15 of another one and only nerds notice it... It's often major and profound.

The key point is that the LDS is genuinely a living church. While change is difficult in some churches, it happens all the time in the LDS. It evolves. Sometimes, but not always, for the better. It was useful for dealing with the priesthood ban for example. Or the endowment ceremony.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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SamBee
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Re: Prophets Superseding and Contradictions

Post by SamBee » 30 Mar 2021, 15:53

nibbler wrote:
29 Mar 2021, 15:20
While not an important doctrine, there's the very recent example of the word Mormon. About 10 years ago in my ward a lot of emphasis was placed on every member creating an "I'm a Mormon" profile. A few years ago in my ward identifying as "Mormon" became taboo. Maybe not the best example, the underpinnings have a lot of nuance, but that's how my local community reacted to direction received from leadership.
Would you believe it but I still have some of those passalong cards in my wallet!!!

It is obviously Pres. Nelson's hobby horse. I like the idea of the Church emphasizing Jesus, but a lot of the changes are esthetic. Moroni was *our* symbol. Mormon is not a name to be ashamed of. It sounds a bit too like moron but that's it.

It was funny seeing some members follow the prophet on that one. Thing is, I really liked the I'm a Mormon campaign. We got to see members from all over the world of all different flavors, and it was a shame to see it go.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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nibbler
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Re: Prophets Superseding and Contradictions

Post by nibbler » 30 Mar 2021, 17:52

SamBee wrote:
30 Mar 2021, 15:53
It was funny seeing some members follow the prophet on that one. Thing is, I really liked the I'm a Mormon campaign. We got to see members from all over the world of all different flavors, and it was a shame to see it go.
That's true. Less a missionary outreach program and more to expose members to the diversity in the church.
I'm not running away. Im already gone.
— Kami Garcia

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SamBee
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Re: Prophets Superseding and Contradictions

Post by SamBee » 01 Apr 2021, 00:22

nibbler wrote:
30 Mar 2021, 17:52
SamBee wrote:
30 Mar 2021, 15:53
It was funny seeing some members follow the prophet on that one. Thing is, I really liked the I'm a Mormon campaign. We got to see members from all over the world of all different flavors, and it was a shame to see it go.
That's true. Less a missionary outreach program and more to expose members to the diversity in the church.
I see it as both. For most of my non-member friends, "Mormons" (as they would still call us) are the missionaries who ring their doorbells and have strange beliefs. That's about it. Maybe clothing and polygamy.

It was a breath of fresh air to see people like the Tattooed Mormon (whose real name I forget), surfers and mountain bikers - i.e. people who weren't all suits - Lindsey Stirling (who I don't listen to much, but is fun), and people from all kinds of backgrounds and work. We do have genuine variety within our own ward, but it isn't always obvious during the services - we have had visual artists, academics, road workers, truckers, sportsmen, rich businessmen and people from several continents. I only later learn some of these things.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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