Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The President of the Church will Never Lead the Church Astray - What Does that Mean?????

After the first Manifeso at the back of the Doctrine and Covenants, we have quotes from 3 talks by Wilford Woodruff. This is one of those quotes.

"The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the programme. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so He will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty." (Sixty-first Semiannual General Conference of the Church, Monday, October 6, 1890, Salt Lake City, Utah. Reported in Deseret Evening News, October 11, 1890, p. 2.)

This was stated because of the great opposition he faced from church members and leaders due to his declaration opposing the present practice of plural marriage.

The problem was that such a declaration opposes practicing the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Question was made as to his authority to discourage the practice of eternally unchangeable laws.

He goes on to explain why he felt to do so in the next 2 quotes given.

So his statement should be kept in context.

Today there are those that choose to believe that this is a reason to feel that nothing the President of the church says can be wrong. However that statement not only says that the President of the church would be removed out of his place but that ANYONE attempting to lead people astray, from the words of God, would.

To be moved out of their place they must have some "place" to be moved out of. It is posing church positions. So are we to believe that all bishops, stake presidents, high councilmen, elder's quarum presidents, relief society presidents, scout leaders, class secretaries, ward mission leaders, home teachers, visiting teachers etc are infallible in their offices: That every word they say is the mind and will of God?

Because that's what you would have to believe to use Wilford Woodruff's statement as used by some, concerning opinions expressed by the president of the church.

Note also that he states that it would have to be a deliberate attempt to lead astray, on behalf of the leader - "...If I were to attempt that...any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray..."

I think we have to use a bit of sense in our understanding of his intention. He is posing that such a major change, as he was presenting, wouldn't be allowed by God if it were wrong. To make more out of it not only is ridiculous (as demonstrated 3 paragraphs above) but doesn't fit in the context, nor with other statements of church presidents to the contrary.

Additionally such thinking leaves members open to anti-material where they demonstrate the differences of ideas expressed by church presidents and other GAs. We need to move beyond such ideas, as we learn in the gospel.

I'm not proposing that the President of the church isn't directed by God, at times God chooses, to make certain changes etc. What I'm saying is that he isn't under constant revelation when speaking.

The idea that we should look to another man, in some position, to tell us what God has to say, is essential for new members, those with mental retardation problems, children under 8, those who have recently reactivated, people suffering altzeimers disease, those coming to church only for social reasons and those having serious troubles seeing the point in obeying God (such as Israel at the time of Moses).

For any others there are 2 men that actually ARE infallible. One we call "Heavenly Father." And the other we call "Jesus Christ." Fortunately both are very much available for comment. You don't need to book an appointment to see them. You can just ask at any time.

Along with them we have the Holy Ghost, who is quite happy to reside inside you ALL the time. He can guide you in anything. He also is infallible.

That sounds a much better idea to me. The other is just being spiritually lazy, in my opinion.


Denidowi said...

Seems to be working:

Doug, I thought I'd like to say a few words on this topic.
Everyone has a slightly different opinion on where and when things should be done a certain way in life and even 'in the Gospel'.
Each has their own specific "gifts" and talents.
Some have the capacity to "administer" or 'inspire' better than others. Some are very practical or are not as used to searching inspiration as others, but they would do other things better than you or me.

The Church is progressing, just like its people progress both individually and collectively.
The 'bend' in Church counsel today is much as you are suggesting:
That the guidance of the Spirit is all-central to our own personal salvation and guidance through life.
It might be well worth my quoting to you from a talk by the Relief Society, General President, Sis Julie Beck in the last April Church Conference for you to capture some vision on the current direction in which the Church is moving as we near the Saviour's imminent return:
"How does a woman in our day [note those words] find answers to her own questions and stand strong....
A good woman must resist alluring, deceptive [worldly] messages...
with personal revelation, she can prioritize correctly and navigate this life confidently.
The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life"
She then lists things that would qualify one for this very achievement.

Denidowi said...

After speaking of how to obtain the Spirit and retain personal direction and revelation in our lives, Sis Beck continued:
"Many answers to difficult questions are found by reading the scriptures because the scriptures are an aid to revelation." [NOTE: ... not the other way around, as many may perceive]
She then speaks of both prayer and scripture study as aids to receiving revelation.
"Revelation can come hour by hour and moment by moment aswe do the right things ... despite distractions, having the Spirit of revelation makes it possible to prevail over opposition and persist in faith...
'Personal revelation gives us understanding of what to do every day to increase faith and personal righteousness, strengthen families and homes, and seek those who need our help"
It is also worthy of note to acknowledge the better purposes Sis Beck cites for which one may use and call upon revelation in one's own life: She speaks of increased personal righteousness, and service to family and others, as the better displays of individual revelation over mere doctrinal uses of the gift.

Doug Towers said...


Thanks for the input and quotes. That is some good stuff.

Denidowi said...

I thought you might like thatLOL!

Anonymous said...

Doug, you make very good observations. When I look at that manifesto from mearly an informal point of view as though I were reading a letter someone had written to me, I see a man attempting to qualify what he is saying.

Truth as God originally spoke to Joseph Smith concerning Plural Marrige in order to establish it, did not contain qualifying excuses.

President Woodriff seems to be making excuses for his decision to resend this law.

And the fact that Plural Marrige was continued after this declaration was made, is proof of it's mearly being a man's best attempt at solving a paradoxical problem from a human's point of reckoning.

I think this manifesto actually becomes the first offical evidence that the church had indeed fallen under a curse when refusing to live the law of consecration.

As one commenter mentioned, we can certainly progress as individuals without restrictions regarding our attaining the Lord's Presence in our lives ( second comforter ) but as far as the church itself being able to ascend to that level, it's a No Go untill the Lord makes provisions to resend the curse that we collectively fall under.

Living here at the Kenedy Space Center, I envision our progress as a church in terms of our being halted at the mandatory 3 min. hold in the final countdown to lauch.

It's a hold designed to determine if any final changes need to be made before the final count resumes.

I certainly invision certain changes taking place before we proceed with gathering to Zion.

Doug Towers said...


Yes, the backward movement of the church doctrine wise creates its own problems.

I don't see the gathering as being a formal invitation from the church president, but from the Holy Ghost. So only those listening will hear.