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Notes for Doctrine and Covenants Class 9
“Prophets are alerted to tiny trends that bode ill for mankind. Prophets, therefore, are the Lord’s early-warning system: they both detect and decry at his direction. What may seem to be a premature expression of prophetic concern is actually the early discovery of a difficulty that will later plague the people.” Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Things As They Really Are,” 1978, emphasis added.
“Our sustaining of prophets is a personal commitment that we will do our utmost to uphold their prophetic priorities. Our sustaining is an oath-like indication that we recognize their calling as a prophet to be legitimate and binding upon us.
“Twenty-six years before he became President of the Church, then-Elder George Albert Smith said: ‘The obligation that we make when we raise our hands … is a most sacred one. It does not mean that we will go quietly on our way and be willing that the prophet of the Lord shall direct this work, but it means … that we will stand behind him; we will pray for him; we will defend his good name, and we will strive to carry out his instructions as the Lord shall direct.’” Elder Russell M. Nelson, “Sustaining the Prophets,” Ensign, Nov. 2014.
“I never told you I was perfect; but there is no error in the revelations which I have taught. Must I, then, be thrown away as a thing of naught?” – Joseph Smith.
“We should be careful not to claim for Joseph Smith perfections he did not claim for himself. He need not have been superhuman to be the instrument in God’s hands that we know him to be. In May, 1844, Joseph declared: ‘I never told you I was perfect, but there is no error in the revelations which I have taught’ (History of the Church, 6:366).” – Elder D. Todd Christofferson.
Brigham Young: “I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are being led by Him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken that influence they could give their leaders if they know for themselves by the revelations of Jesus Christ that they are led in the right way. Let every man and woman know by the whisperings of the Spirit of God to themselves whether their leaders are walking in the way the Lord dictates or not. This has been my exhortation continually.” – Journal of Discourses, 9:150.
“The very words of the revelation recognize that the Brethren may speak when they are not “moved upon by the Holy Ghost”; yet only when they do speak as “moved upon” is what they say considered scripture. No exceptions are given to this rule or principle. It is universal in its application.
“The question is, how shall we know when the things they have spoken were said as they were ‘moved upon by the Holy Ghost’? I have given some thought to this question, and the answer thereto, so far as I can determine, is: We can tell when the speakers are ‘moved upon by the Holy Ghost’ only when we, ourselves, are ‘moved upon by the Holy Ghost.’ In a way, this completely shifts the responsibility from them to us to determine when they so speak. – “When Are the Writings and Sermons of Church Leaders Entitled to the Claim of Scripture?” President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., Address to Seminary and Institute Personnel, BYU, 7 July 1954.
Putting Trust in Fallibility
Blind Obedience is Not God’s Way
Don’t Expect Perfection. . .
…But, Whom God Calls, God Qualifies
Discern the Correct Qualifying Characteristics
The Prophet Will Never Lead Us Astray
Expect Rules, Note Exceptions