Monday, June 24, 2013

They flee when none pursueth: Debunking prophetic infallibility

Prophetic infallibility has been a recurring topic at LDSBlogs.org. A recent example is this Times and Seasons post: "And shall not lead astray: the Church and ‘infallibility’." Today, I would like to share some of my own thoughts about prophetic infallibility.

During more than 65 years as a Church member, I've never heard the Church claim its prophets are infallible. I've never heard any prophet claim to be infallible. I've never met a fellow Church member who believed that prophets are infallible. Therefore, I don't understand why some LDS bloggers feel the need to debunk prophetic infallibility. In my view, they flee when none pursueth.

It's true that Church members have high esteem for the words of the prophets, but that does not mean members view the prophets as infallible. Church members take seriously this scriptural command: "For you shall live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God." (D&C 84:44.)

On the day the Church was organized, the Lord gave instructions about how members should treat the words of the Prophet: "Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me; For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth." (D&C 21:4-5.)

Scripture warns of the day when "they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people." (D&C 1:14.)

The President of the Church is mortal, he is fallible. Yet he is sustained as the "prophet, seer, and revelator and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." His counselors in the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles are also sustained as "prophets, seers, and revelators." When these fifteen men deliberate a question and come to a decision, that decision is sent forth by the Prophet. Then, as Nathan Eldon Tanner succinctly and correctly said, "the debate is over." (Ensign, Aug. 1979.)

God speaks in our day by the mouth of his servants the prophets. Those servants are the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. Of them God says: "Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same." (D&C 1:38.)

Wilford Woodruff taught that the Prophet cannot lead the Church astray. He didn't say this was because prophets are infallible, rather he said the Lord simply would not allow it, the death of His servants being in the power and control of the Lord. Said Woodruff:

"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." (Official Declaration 1.)

Prophetic infallibility is false doctrine. There is no such thing. Members of the Church can hear God's word in the voice of His servants without believing those servants are infallible. They who debunk prophetic infallibility are fleeing when no one pursueth.

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