"If the god [as speaking through the human oracle] says Tritons exist, then who can doubt it?" --Aelian (ca. A.D. 170-230) as quoted on page 236 of The First Fossil Hunters: Paleontology in Greek and Roman Times by Adrienne Mayor

In "FARMS Review of Books" 9/1 (previously free on the internet but now they charge you a membership fee in order to view it), Daniel Peterson brings up (as false accusations) "anti-Mormon" attacks claiming that Latter-day Saints are forbidden to think for themselves and criticizes their quoting statements made in the past to the effect that "The thinking has already been done". Peterson then say's "The source for the statement in question is {from} a June 1945 ward teachers message". He continues on the next page saying "...this obscure ward teaching message, apparently written by a minor church functionary and more than a half century old...".

President George Albert Smith commented on this ward teaching message saying that one or more of the leaders of the church permitted the message to pass uncensored to the membership. The statement supposedly written by "a minor church functionary" was sent out to the church membership as the official ward teaching message and in two publications of the church (one being the official church publication). The message has never been rescended in any official way. Peterson also doesn't seem to be aware of the fact that several General Authorities have made similar statements since then--several times in the 1990s too.

In the same introduction, FARMS also seems to be saying that if a teaching can not clearly be found in the Mormon scriptures, then it is irrelevant to Mormonism. If such is the case, then the basis of Mormon thought on "continuing revelation" (and much of the material FARMS itself produces) may be disregarded. Although you won't find any of the quotes Peterson quickly dismisses in the Mormon canon of scripture, saying the concept of "trusting God's chosen individuals' thoughts over your own" is indeed scriptural as this essay explains.

Another evidence which contradicts Peterson's assertion regarding these quotes as being outdated and minor is one of the most popular Primary songs which Mormon children sing frequently. The chorus which is repeated over a dozen times is, "Follow The Prophet, Follow The Prophet, Follow The Prophet, Don't Go Astray". Children in the current Mormon church have it drummed into their heads from a very early age that their thoughts should play second fiddle to those of the Mormon leadership.

When reading Carl Sagan's Billions and Billions, I came across, on page 158, a quote attributed to Rudolf Hess regarding Hitler. Substituting 'prophet' for 'Fuhrer' and 'gospel' for 'National Socialism of all of us' yields the following:

One man remains beyond all criticism, and that is the prophet. This is because everyone senses and knows: He is always right, and he will always be right. The gospel is anchored in uncritical loyalty, in a surrender to the prophet.
Have you ever heard a similar statement on the prophet in a Mormon church service? Do the following quotes resemble the above?


"Any Latter-day Saint who denounces or opposes whether actively or otherwise, any plan or doctrine advocated by the prophets, seers, revelators' of the church, is cultivating the spirit of apostacy. One cannot speak evil of the lord's annointed... and retain the holy spirit in his heart. This sort of game is Satan's favorite pastime, and he has practiced it to believing souls since Adam. He {Satan} wins a great victory when he can get members of the church to speak against their leaders and to do their own thinking."

"When 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 directions, 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."

Ward Teachers Message, Deseret News, Church Section p. 5, May 26, 1945
Also included in the Improvement Era, June 1945 (which was the official church magazine before the Ensign)


"Always keep your eye on the President of the church, and if he ever tells you to do anything, even if it is wrong, and you do it, the lord will bless you for it but you don't need to worry. The lord will never let his mouthpiece lead the people astray."

LDS President Marion G. Romney (of the first presidency), quoting LDS President (and prophet) Heber J. Grant "Conference Report" Oct. 1960 p. 78


"The Lord Almighty leads this Church, and he will never suffer you to be led astray if you are found doing your duty. You may go home and sleep as sweetly as a babe in its mother's arms, as to any danger of your leaders leading you astray, for if they should try to do so the Lord would quickly sweep them from the earth."

Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 9, p. 289, 1862.


"When the Prophet speaks the debate is over".

N. Eldon Tanner, August Ensign 1979, pages 2-3


"I sat in this tabernacle some years ago as President Joseph Fielding Smith stood at this pulpit. It was the general priesthood meeting of April 1972, the last general conference before President Smith passed away. He said: 'There is one thing which we should have exceedingly clear in our minds. Neither the President of the Church, nor the First Presidency, or the united voice of the First Presidency and the Twelve will ever lead the Saints astray or send forth counsel to the world that is contrary to the mind and will of the lord'."

L. Aldin Porter of the Presidency of the First Quorum of Seventies (Ensign, Nov. 1994, p. 63)


"Follow your leaders who have been duly ordained and have been publicly sustained, and you will not be led astray."

Boyd K. Packer (General Conference, Oct. 1992; Ensign, Nov. 1992)


"The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray."

President Wilford Woodruff (considered scripture as it is canonized at the end of the D&C)


For more on the topic, see the complete text of some recent talks like
"Talk to the All-Church Coordinating Council" and "14 Fundamentals In Following the Prophet"

There have also been statements to the contrary by the Mormon leadership
(although I don't know of many in the past few decades).
See this page for some of Hugh B. Brown's thoughts.


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