Remove the prophet

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In the October 1890 general conference, Wilford Woodruff stated the following:

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

My question to the readers is how will the Lord remove the prophet from his place? How do we know this will happen?

96 thoughts on “Remove the prophet

  1. “We may never have the answers to these specific questions, does it really matter if you pray and you have peace in your heart of what is going on?”

    So just follow blindly in faith?

    There is nothing wrong with questioning things that don’t seem right, or with researching things that you want answers to. I think most members don’t, because they put on their blinders, and keep following the sraight and narrow path, and pretend that everything is great in their bubble world.

    But then when it comes to most debates, they will play the faith card. That isn’t the way I operate, I need answers. And what happens when you do pray, and perhaps have the feeling that something isn’t right. Whose faith or feeings, win? Or I know, I probably wasn’t praying with real intent…or Satan had control of my heart.

    Questioning doesn’t make someone ANTI, bad, or blasphemous.

  2. If you are going to blindly follow others, then you deserve what you get. I think it is important for you to know if you are following church doctrine or something a person made up. Wilford Woodruff’s statement is not church doctrine, it is perhaps a myth or tradition at best. You may disagree but then you disagree with official church statements.

    “Not every statement made by a Church leader, past or present, necessarily constitutes doctrine. A single statement made by a single leader on a single occasion often represents a personal, though well-considered, opinion, but is not meant to be officially binding for the whole Church. With divine inspiration, the First Presidency (the prophet and his two counselors) and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (the second-highest governing body of the Church) counsel together to establish doctrine that is consistently proclaimed in official Church publications. This doctrine resides in the four “standard works” of scripture (the Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price), official declarations and proclamations, and the Articles of Faith.” This is off

    When Woodruff’s statement is in the four standard works, then it is doctrine and until then, it is not. Period end of statement.

    If you want to read the entire statement about what is doctrine, then go to the top of this page and click under Sideblog the third listing.

  3. Do you really believe that those who have faith to follow a prophet are living in a bubble? Do you really think exercising faith is playing a “card” in some sort of game?

  4. “Do you really believe that those who have faith to follow a prophet are living in a bubble?” wasn’t the following the prophet that puts people in the bubble. I was referring to people that choose not to seek answers to questions, because they are happy in their bubble world. It is easier to answer everything with “faith”. Which segues into your next question.

    “Do you really think exercising faith is playing a “card” in some sort of game?”

    Well isn’t it like a game? That is the answer that most members give… “I just know because I have faith.” It really is a gamble. Who really knows what will happen or who is right? Whenever it comes to a religious discussion, and it comes to the point where the difficult or unanswered questions are asked, most LDS folk will a)bear their testimony that they know that it will all work out, (they can’t say why or how), b) say they have faith (which was the “card” I was referring to, or c) a combination of both a & b. It is easier to rely on someone telling you what to do, and not question what is being asked of you. You call it faith.

    But really it is all a game, and I don’t think that there has to a winner or a loser. Whatever keeps you going. However, if you can have respect for what everyone else in the world may or may not believe, that is what makes you a better player.

    I may not agree with the opinions of others, but we are all entitled to that right.

    It just seems that most LDS people have a problem thinking that there could possibly be any other option, way of living, or being happy outside of the gospel.

  5. You’re spot on Dar.

    It can be a scary thing for people to start thinking for themselves. Using the faith crutch is usually just easier.

    We preach agency and then discard it to blindly follow.

    Comments like Janet’s show just how scared LDS can be when people actually start to think and investigate things for themselves.

    I remember as a full-time missionary feeling confused when someone would take the discussions and we’d get to where they needed to pray about JS, the BOM, and everything else. Some would come back and say they received no spiritual confirmation. At the time, I would rationalize by saying to myself ‘they didn’t do it with real intent’ or ‘there is something in their life keeping them from communicating with the spirit’.

    I think back to what a pompous ass I was to declare myself judge and jury to these people. Because they didn’t arrive at the same conclusion I did, I felt threatened in my faith. I felt that if they really didn’t get an answer then maybe my answer might be wrong.

    I’m glad I came to the realization that even though my spiritual experiences and the spiritual experiences of others may or may not be similar, they are mutually exclusive. Two different people can get two different answers. There are just too many variables to have anyone determine why the answers might be different, but it is possible.

  6. Well, JM and Dar, I guess if it makes you feel better to dismiss anyone who disagrees with you as being too afraid to think as you do, then you can go ahead. That’s an awfully easy answer, though, isn’t it? “If they don’t see it my way, it’s just because they’re frightened.”

    You seem to believe that keeping God’s commandments is just one of a wide array of choices that are equally right and all lead to true happiness. I think that would be nice, but I can’t believe it if I also believe in the scriptures.

  7. JM,

    I am interested in your opinion on Moroni 10:4:

    “[If] ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.” (emphasis added)

  8. I have concerns when I read you blindly follow and your faith sustains you. In the religion I grew up in, I was taught that was Satan’s plan. He wanted to make all the plans and for God’s children to blindly follow him and all of God’s children would be saved. I was also taught that God rejected Satan’s plan.

    Blindly following any “Religious Leader” is no different than blindly following Satan’s plan for salvation. God will reject it just as he did when Satan offered it.

    I was also taught that we are here on this earth life to learn how to make choices, how to choose between good and evil. How do you learn these things if you blindly follow another?

    Is claiming “Faith” nothing more than a cope out for not using the brains God gave you to learn the difference between truth and lies?

    Can you prove God wants you to blindly follow the prophet by using official church doctrine sources?

    Kim’s question regarding Moroni 10:4 – If you blindly follow why even ask? The prophet, SP or Bishop will tell you what you need to know and your faith (in them) will sustain you. Where is your faith in God?

    Perhaps you have more “faith” in man than in God telling you the truth. God does not lie but man will even when he wears holy robes.

  9. Well, I must stand corrected JM. My first statements did come off quite strong, and, in re-reading it, the comment about testimonies was off base. I do not think that asking for confirmation of things that don’t necessarily feel comfortable to you makes you evil, wrong, or blasphemous. I do, however, believe that one must understand if their motivation is just because they don’t want to do this or that or if they really have a reason to question it. These are people’s opinions and feelings; I or you do not have to agree, and they do not have to agree with us. I just have an opinion about it. If you want to read into my email that it is fear, you have that choice; however, in this case, since they are my feelings, I can tell you you are wrong. For those of you that like to refer to pulling the faith card, I believe that we are told in the scriptures that we must have faith. Maybe some people do use that, and they may miss out for that; that is their choice.

    I do not advocate blind faith in gaining a testimony. I respect your and everyone else’s right to find your answers however you choose to find them. I do not believe that if your answer is different than mine, you are wrong. I would be more apt to go back and reevaluate my approach. I just feel that some of the statements made were irreverent, and I hope you will respect my right to feel that way. They may have not been intended that way.

    One of the problems with email and chat lines is that it is difficult to understand exactly what a person means. All too often, we read into a statement more (or different) than was meant. Like JM, I would have been glad to clarify my statement if you had asked me if fear and arrogance was what I felt. Instead you just judged me and made the assumption that was it. It seems that I did some of that myself. I am always open to looking at my approach.

    It would be a blast to sit in a circle with all of you face to face with everyone expressing their feelings so the right questions were asked to clarify what we each meant. I am certain that you are all wonderful people, and I am also sure that not all of the posting people would ever agree; however, that doesn’t stop me from respecting and loving all of you for standing up for what you feel and think.

  10. Pewsitter, did I understand your comment correctly. Are you indicating that Moroni 10:4 says to blindly follow? I would think it says just the opposite when you have received these things, you ask God in the name of Christ, having faith in Christ he will let you know the truth. So I am thinking you are saying, if you have a question, seek the answer for your self and not just blindly follow.

  11. I’ve seen a lot of attacks on faith here—calling it a “card” or a “crutch” or an easy way out. What I’m trying to understand now is what those people think real faith is. If what they describe isn’t actually faith, what is? Or if they think it is real faith, and that those who exercise real faith should be lampooned for their laziness, then what do they make of Jesus telling us to have faith?

  12. “what do they make of Jesus telling us to have faith?”

    Because the Bible is the word of God and tells us He exists, God must exist.

  13. Rick, you’re fighting yet another straw man. I’m not asking you, who don’t believe in God, why you don’t believe the Bible telling you there is a God. I’m asking those who do ostensibly believe in God, and in the words of Jesus, what they’re saying about faith and how it squares with what Jesus says about it.

  14. ltbugaf,

    Regarding the idea that faith is a card, I don’t believe those who are saying this are saying one shouldn’t have faith. I believe they are saying that when someone comes into a debate and says “Just have faith”, it’s sort of a copout. By saying such, they are avoiding having to address any of the points in the debate. Especially when debating with active members of the Church. After all, an active member can’t argue against having faith.

    Or I may be misinterpreting what those who use this usage are saying.

  15. If an issue is being discussed with those who believe it’s important to have faith, then faith needs to be removed from the discussion? I don’t think so. I don’t see how faith is more of a copout in this situation than in any other.

  16. …and I’m hoping that those who actually made the statements I asked about will offer their own clarifications.

  17. No Kim, I don’t believe that you misinterpreted what was said.

    That is exactly how I meant it.

  18. Let me try to illustrate with an example.

    I began this discussion with the question, “how will the Lord remove the prophet from his place?”

    What ensued was a discussion regarding how the Lord would remove a prophet from his place if he tried leading the church astray.

    Then out of the blue, in the middle of the discussion, someone comes in and says:

    “most of these comments are pretty scary. I might suggest some testimonies that could use some strengthening. do you not believe that the Lord has the power to still work through a man even if for daily intents and purposes he seemingly does not function? I think some of these comments that have been made are a bit blasphemous.”

    That’s an example of playing the “faith card”.

  19. That’s fine, but her comment isn’t invalid. Faith is important. And if we’re going to dismiss it as being intellectually lazy, then why isn’t it intellectually lazy all the time? If it’s important, why isn’t it important in this discussion as well as elsewhere? Why is it wrong to ask people to consider these questions in light of their faith?

  20. How is that playing the faith card? I don’t question that some people say that because they don’t have a specific answer, however if they truly believe in their hearts it is, even without proof then how is it a card? That means you question their honesty, their integrity and their intelligence. Just as, if you say you prayed and didn’t get an answer, I will believe that and it doesn’t mean I think you did something wrong.

    Here is my little analogy on proof.

    When you go to school and you take a test does your Teacher (professor) give you all of the answers and tell you ahead of time exactly what will be in a test and how he wants it answered? (only n rare occasion and I don’t see that as much of a test) And don’t some of them throw in a few surprised here and there? Well, if LDS members (and maybe others) believe this life is a test, then why would the Lord just blatantly make all of the answers obvious. We have to find out for ourselves, in the case of religion I believe that sometimes finding out is just that, a feeling, and having faith. In some case I can say I know this is true yet I can’t show it to you or let you smell it or touch it. It is like, how do you know there is actually air? Can you see it? Can you touch it? Can you hold it in your hand? Have you ever proven it? Someone told you it existed and because you breathe and live and exist you believed it. Is that a perfect knowledge by proof and fact or is it somewhat a “faith” card? This may be a intellectually inept scenario however I think you (if you choose to) can see my point.

  21. Janet said: Pewsitter, did I understand your comment correctly. Are you indicating that Moroni 10:4 says to blindly follow? I would think it says just the opposite when you have received these things, you ask God in the name of Christ, having faith in Christ he will let you know the truth. So I am thinking you are saying, if you have a question, seek the answer for your self and not just blindly follow.

    Just the opposite – You will not find in the doctrines of the church where God wants you to blindly follow church leaders. Myths and traditions portray blindly following as being righteous but in my humble opinion is following the plan of Satan. God wants you to use your mind and decide for yourself.

  22. Kim,

    My opinion on Moroni 10:4 is that it works most of the time.

    My problem with it is that at times it hasn’t worked for me. I’ve used Moroni 10:4 as a rule for determining the truth of many things. I feel that I have been sincere and my intentions are real when I use this test. If anything, my faith in Christ has increased over time. Yet, there have been a select number of cases where I haven’t received an answer through a manifestation of the Holy Ghost. It came from another source. It is possible that my intent, faith, or sincerity were lacking in these cases, but I just don’t see that being the case.

    Because of this, I can entertain the possibility that someone investigating the church could have real intent, be sincere, and be excercising all the faith in Christ that they have, and still not get the answer they are looking for.

    Regardless, it isn’t for me to judge the sincerity, faith, or intent of anyone other than myself. At most, I can teach, or present doctrine. The rest is between that individual and God.


    Feel free to begin personal attacks on my lack faith. Be sure to point out where I’m wrong and belittle me in your own, special, apathetic way.

  23. I really can’t tell. Growing up, I always believed it was an absolute.

    But then we hear people say things like “Well the Lord answers prayers in His own time”, so maybe that means it is an absolute, but the time isn’t right. So, what’s a person to do in the mean time?

  24. JM,

    I certainly wouldn’t attack your faith. That is a personal thing between each individual and God.
    I have prayed many times and the answers to my prayers came “through” someone else.

    There have also been times when it seemed as though I did not get an answer and in time realized (or I believed) that the answer was no.

    I think sometimes for me I am waiting for a major indication with a strong feeling on the answer and very obvious. It turns out that it isn’t always that way.

    I truly believe that the Lord works in mysterious ways. I also believe he works through us, our friends and family and sometimes strangers.

    So,do you think that the answers you have gotten that you felt came from another source could have actually been your answer from the spirit working through someone else?

    I believe our faith is tested in many ways and I believe this very well could be one of those ways. To believe when you pray about something and it is answered by “another source”that it is actually your prayer answered.

    That is just my belief and because of things I have experienced regardless of the personal attacks I may receive that belief will not change. I may not be eloquent with my testimony and I may not be able to quote scriptures at the drop of a hat, but I know what I know.

    I also respect anyone else’s right to believe as they choose.

  25. Itbugaf, Feel free to begin personal attacks on my lack faith. Be sure to point out where I’m wrong and belittle me in your own, special, apathetic way.

    What makes you say this? What have I said above that was an attack on your “lack faith”? Where have I belittled you above? What have I said above that indicates an apathetic attitude?

  26. Janet,

    Unless you are also posting as itbugaf, I wasn’t expecting you to attack my faith.

    Regarding the Lord and His mysterious ways, that seems to contradict Moroni 10:4. On one had we have people preaching that there is a set formula for getting answers to prayers. On the other, we have people (sometimes the same people) saying that there is no formula and the mechanics are a mystery. You mention that prayers answered from another source are still answered prayers. True, but it’s not the same as what Moroni 10:4 is promising. It states the Holy Ghost will make the truth known, not some other person.

    So which is it?

    I went through what I consider a significant personal hardship. This hardship started a number of years ago and recently resolved itself. In all, I would say the entire circumstance lasted close to 4 years.

    To put this into context for our conversation / debate, I offer the following background:

    At the time this hardship began to manifest itself, I was very active in church (not saying I’m not now). I was a serving elders quorum president and had been doing so for a few years. Previous I held stake leadership callings, attended the temple regularly, etc. We never missed a family home evening. We read scriptures together as a family daily without missing a single day for over two years straight. We prayed together, yadda, yadda, yadda.

    As this hardship began to unfold, I continued serving in my church callings, fully expecting that things would work out. They didn’t. Things got worse and more out of control. During this time, I sought the counsel of my Bishop and Stake President. I followed their “inspired” counsel. Things got worse.

    I went to the temple, fasted and prayed for answers. None came. Things got worse.

    I began to evaluate my spitituality. There must have been something in my life not in order. I did all I could to get my affairs in order. No answer, things kept getting worse.

    The strange thing was, I didn’t feel I was completely cut off from all spiritual communication. I believe I continued to feel inspiration with other family matters and things related to my calling and other stewardships. It was just this one problem that I wasn’t getting any answers for.

    Anyway, as time went on, I worked through this situation. I never received any spiritual guidence from the Holy Ghost. Never any comfort. After many years and many different attempts to solve this problem I eventually stumbled across the solution on my own. In retrospect I feel like I answered my own prayers.

    I don’t harbor any anger towards God for being silent all this time. I paid a hefty tuition for the education that I received from going through this trial. Although I would never want to go through it again, I feel I am a better person for the experience.

    But, it has left me with a different understanding of Moroni 10:4. Although the Holy Ghost can manifest the truth of all things, it doesn’t necessarily mean he will. I think of my good friend Rick. I don’t doubt any of his sincerity. I don’t see him as a lier. He is very intelligent, talented and gifted. I count myself lucky to have him and Dar as friends (heaven knows I don’t deserve it). If rick has followed the formula and hasn’t received the promised answer then maybe God is silent for rick just as he was for me. Who am I to second guess? If God wants rick to know the church is true, He’ll let him know. If rick says it hasn’t happened, then it hasn’t. And I am insulted by the itbugaf’s that try to marginalize rick’s concerns and doubts, simply because their experience is different.

  27. As near as I can tell, I didn’t “marginalize” anyone’s “concerns.” What I did was refute someone’s accusation. I did so with facts.

    Rick claimed that the Church’s leadership was lying about President Benson’s health (that’s right—he called them liars!) and I refuted the claim by showing that President Hinckley did exactly the opposite.

  28. Unless you are also posting as itbugaf [sic], I wasn’t expecting you to attack my faith.

    I’ve asked you to substantiate the accsation that I have attacked your faith. Are you going to do that, or just keep repeating your accusation.

    Your ‘good friend’ rick is the one who’s been making fun of people who don’t want their faith attacked.

  29. Itbugaf,

    You can ask all you want…

    But first, please point out where I accused you of doing so. All I did was give you permission to begin.

  30. And, what’s with the quotes around ‘good friend’? What do you know of my friendship with rick?

  31. JM,

    I totally understand what you are saying.

    PS: I consider you one of my best friends …and yes, you deserve it.

  32. Itbugaf [sic], You can ask all you want… But first, please point out where I accused you of doing so. All I did was give you permission to begin.

    Your giving me “permission to begin” obviously implies that you think I’ve done so in the past. But I see that asking you to provide some backing for what you say is pointless. You’re going to continue hurling reckless accusations at me regardless of what happens.

    And, what’s with the quotes around ‘good friend’?

    I put quotes around ‘good friend’ because I was quoting you. That’s the most common use of quotation marks. For more information, consult your favorite style guide.

    What do you know of my friendship with rick?


  33. Thank you for your insight and comments. I am sorry for your experience in that it was apparently very painful. On the other hand, you feel as though you’re a better person for it. Do you think that if the Lord had just resolved the issue for you or given you the answers for you to take care of this situation in a short period of time that you would have grown and come out the same person you are today? Many times our trials and tests are to help us become better people. I also am a firm believer that Satan throws many things in our path and how we deal with it determines who we are when we get through the ordeal. I guess I would refer to ancient prophets and Lehi for example and his obedience and His faith and all the devastation for so many years that he went through.

    I agree that Rick’s situation is not to be criticized or scoffed at. Who knows why he has had the experience he has. I believe if he truly wants to know the answer that he will when the time is right. This does not mean he is not a good person, and God still loves him as much as he does the people who have their answer. Man’s time is not God’s time, and I think sometimes we attempt to test God by demanding things in our own time.

  34. I must agree with ltbugaf on the accusation of the leadership of the church leaders. It seems to me that they were pretty up front about it. I do choose to be offended by that idea. I also respect Rick’s right to feel as he chooses to. On the other hand, why would one want to offend their good friend as in your friendships with Rick and not be more open minded to seeing the proof.

    I apologize for getting in the middle of what is obviously a personal debate and conversation. And I butt out. Best wishes to you all and sincerely, may God bless.


  35. Janet,

    Honestly, I felt like I was going solo through it. If God had anything to do with the resolution, he was way behind the scenes. Regardless, I’ll never forget the spiritual silence I received in answer to my prayers.

    It all goes back to the Moroni 10:4 issue, when I inquired about certain things, I should have gotten some sort of answer.

  36. “On the other hand, why would one want to offend their good friend as in your friendships with Rick and not be more open minded to seeing the proof.”

    What?? Once again people who are active members, assuming that they are the only one’s who have “proof”.

    Perhaps, it could also be turned around, and a member could be a good friend, and more open minded to a non-member’s religious or scientific proof.

    Everyone has their own religious beliefs, and that is a personal thing. I don’t think that they need to be pitied if they don’t believe in the “one and only true church”, or a prophet that communicates with God…or for that matter a God period.

  37. Everyone has their own religious beliefs, and that is a personal thing. I don’t think that they need to be pitied if they don’t believe in the “one and only true church”, or a prophet that communicates with God…or for that matter a God period.

    Dar if that is what you read into my email then I either wrote it very badly or possibly you are on the deffensive. I have repeatedly expressed that I respect anyones rights to their beliefs. I donot pity anyone for their beliefs. On the other hand, If I truly believe that the church i believe in is the only completley tru on why would I not attempt to offer whatever proofs (as i see it) I know to show to them. That is the ultimate in true friendship is to offer what you think is good to those you care about. However, that being said if they do not see it that way and I am truly their friend I will still love them for who they are not if they see what I see. Further than that I would say that it is not in the questioning that the offense comes, it is in the way it is questioned and the way the questioning is stated. We have been told repeatedly that we must love and respect all whether they are of our faith or of another. As LDS members we sometimes make statements without enough forthought yet their are times that statement we make have no negative meaning and yet a person who doesnt want to hear what we have to say or just toally disagrees with it takes offense where none is intended. I think these replies are a perfectly good example of that.
    Question, has anyone who has posted meant to be offesnive and hurtful to those who are reading them?

  38. PS
    When I mentioned proof, I was referring to the comments about the leadership lying. Not if they accept the truthfullness of the church or not.I cannot offer proof to anyone for that only the way to find that proof for themselves. If they do not find proof for themselves i am not certain what to say to that except that If I cared for you before you looked into it I still care about you regardless. Ricks comments were pretty rudely put. Especially considering it is his friend that is stateing this. If he doesnt believe what is said and he finds no value in statements by church leaders that is his choice but his comments were insulting and disrespectful to his friend. I too was a firsthand witness of these statements by the church leaders of President Bensons condition. It is not “made up” on it is recorded there. Millions of people witnessed it.
    I for one do not see this discussion being very productive and I do not see anyone being willing to say, let us just agree to disagree. As what seems like proof to one is not to another.

  39. Back to the topic at hand…

    ETB’s personal correspondence was sent signed by autopen. This is not a normal practise when corresponding with your loved ones.

    In fact, personal correspondence was sent to President Benson’s grandchildren signed by autopen when he was clearly so incapacitated to have written, or dictated the correspondence.

    The pretty little speech excerpt provided by ltbugaf came well after ETB’s incapacitation and was meant to quell the surfacing suspicions of the folks ‘in the know’ – members and non-members alike.

    When I say the powers that be in the church at that time were not honest, I’m not talking about the damage control talk they gave. I am talking about staged photographs (which were meant to hide medical equipment) and forged correspondence with family.

  40. The pretty little speech excerpt provided by ltbugaf came well after ETB’s incapacitation

    I think you must mean during his incapacitation.

    and was meant to quell the surfacing suspicions of the folks ‘in the know’

    …and I’m sure you stand ready with proof of this assertion about the motives of President Hinckley, as well as your narrative of the letters signed for close relatives. So let’s have it.

  41. ltbugaf – If you want to read about about President Benson’s letters during his time of incapacitation, Steve Benson has written about his grandfather and the PR tactics on You might not appreciate the topics on this web site however.

  42. Two additional points should be made about the correspondence that went out with President Benson’s signature:

    1. When Ezra Taft Benson was Secretary of Agriculture, he used a system in which he pre-drafted standard letters to be sent in response to letters received on various topics. I wouldn’t be surprised if he continued this system as a Church authority. I don’t know whether his assistants continued to send out such correspondence after he became incapacitated, but it wouldn’t surprise me. I would especially suppose that such a practice was followed with regard to such things as thank-you notes or mass-produced holiday greetings. Of course, you may or may not think it was proper to do so. I don’t have a problem with it.
  43. Sorry—I was originally going to articulate that as two separate points, but they ended up melding into one.

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