One of the reasons I fell in love with Mormonism is that while investigating the Church I read the word “Ohio” in the D&C. This may seem an odd reason to some but for me it was evidence that this was a Church all about the here and now. Joseph prophesied about current events. He was a Prophet who revealed with frequency and ease. The revelations contained in the Doctrine & Covenants are evidence of God’s love for and attention to his children. So I ask myself, why not a revelation on the ordination of women to the priesthood? Surely amidst all the P.R. maneuvering the Brethren could have walked into the Temple a little early one Thursday morning and asked God if they could please ordain women to the priesthood. Why haven’t they? The most likely reason is that Thomas S. Monson is not a Prophet, seer, or revelator. It has been said, “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” If this is true, my empty harvest basket speaks volumes about what an un-revelator the prophet is. Has the prophet fallen? I walked away from conference feeling this way. I want to desperately feel another way.
I can’t end without a couple thoughts on Elder Oaks’ bizarro talk.
When he said there was a divinely decreed pattern he was lying. Maybe not lying but he was being extremely dishonest and disingenuous. One can make an argument that there is a pattern or a tradition for excluding women from the priesthood within the Church but neither of them are divine.
He was right though about priesthood keys being given to direct, control, and govern. The priesthood IS about power and control. It has little if nothing to do with the charismatic gifts of the Spirit. A Facebook friend summed it up perfectly,
“Priesthood traditionally existed as a means of social control and enforcing mainstream ideology. By acting as an intermediary between human and divine, Priesthood legitimized the power of the dominant by giving the accepted interpretation of divine will. It’s was a construct meant to take something we call “the power of God” and control/organize it. There were the gifts and power of god and then there was the -hood/order of priests (brokers and middlemen) who sought to manage/control it.”
Sigh. What a letdown. It’s the Monday after conference weekend and all I have is a fallen Prophet and regret that I never submitted an Ordain Women profile.
*I should add that I intentionally skipped the “fallen Prophet” vs. “never was” discussion because it was a distraction from my overall message of irritation and angst. I’m happy to engage in any and all discussions about pretty much anything in the comments.
So if Joseph Smith was a prophet he would have to tell of prophecies and have them come true. Which would then make him a prophet. Any man can call himself a prophet but he must first be held under a microscope to see if he is of the ability.
“But you may wonder, ‘How will we know whether or not a prophecy is from the Lord?’ If the prophet speaks in the Lord’s name but his prediction does not happen or come true, you will know that the Lord did not give that message. That prophet has spoken without my authority and need not be feared.
What did Joseph Smith say will happen?
1. Jesus will return within 56 years — ( History of the Church, vol. 2, p. 189)
2. temple will be built in Missouri within Smith’s generation — ( D&C 84:2-5,31)
3. All nations would be involved in the American Civil war– (D&C 87:1-3)
4. The earth will tremble and the sun be hidden in “Not to many days”. (D&C 88:87)
All four never happened. 1. Jesus obviously never returned. The temple was never built because mormons were driven out of Jackson county in 1833. The temple was suppose to be built in the western boundaries which was Independence. Which never happened. 3. Never happened because clearly not all nations where involved in a American Civil war. 4. The prophecy was given 12/27/1832 “not many days hence” well its been 173 years and roughly 63,364 days which is “not many days” and plus the sun has not been hidden nor the moon hidden its face. So both guesses are wrong.
We can clearly see Joseph Smith was a false prophet and he was a false teacher. Remember what the bible says:
For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.
2 Corinthians 11: 13-15
In fairness on the Christ returning one, I believe it was that if Joseph lived to a certain age (86?) then Christ would return. Something about the work going especially fast under Joseph or something. But since Joseph died then that one was kinda off the hook.
I agree with the general sentiment though.
I think there is an alternative view, but it isn’t much less frustrating. It is very possible that our leaders are good at administrative, day to day, serving-individual-people type revelation, and very bad at big question, reveal-the-heavens-anew type revelation. We train people to do the former, but we tell people that the latter is only for the president of the church. The president of the church has 70+ years of practice NOT exercising the big question type of revelation–that’s how you show loyalty and unity. It’s really hard to ask the right questions when you are seeking revelation (or doing anything else), especially if the topic is as complicated and poorly understood as priesthood.
I don’t believe the prophets are fallen–just wrong, occasionally. I fear that we may have to look elsewhere for new revelation on the big questions of our time, and that it may take the institutional church a generation or more to accept the revelations. I continue to hope I’m wrong on this, but when conference talks tell us that no one is asking (because it’s already answered, supposedly), I find it very depressing. It’s little wonder that many members are seeking unmediated access to the mind of God.
I think that most modern leaders are in the position for their administrative capabilities. They are running a corporation, after all. Hinckley was a PR man from his mission onward, and under his leadership the church got online and did headline interviews and stuff.
But real revelators…those have been few and far between. It’s an intimidating thing, surely. Especially with the correlation committee, and every talk in GC being scrutinized before it goes to the pulpit (lest there be another Poelman fiasco!) It’s no wonder that everything comes out sounding rather the same.
So I don’t know that I’d say “fallen prophet” so much as simply “president [of the corporation] rather than prophet.”
I really love reading your responses. Thank you! I am wondering why do you think they haven’t asked already?
Sorry, last question for the author, not Jonathan 🙂
… it’s not too late to submit a profile to Ordain Women!
Actually, Joe, a careful reading of the Dueteronomy verses you cite show that a prophet can, in fact, speak out of turn. But that doesn’t make him not a prophet. Just makes him, in the words of the Lord, “presumptuous.”
Modern-day prophets are regularly presumptuous. If there’s one single thing I would change about the modern church, it is to turn healthy skepticism in the prophets’ words from a vice into a virtue.
I would like this, too.
The more I investigate the Bible, the more I’m convinced that Mormon prophets are in the same mold. That is – deeply flawed and minimally prophetic. They all have different gifts, like the rest of us. Hell, even Jesus seemed pretty sure that the end was just around the corner. I can only choose to believe with a heavy dose of the limitations of man and woman. Like James, I think the rhetoric is overblown and doesn’t do our leaders any favors. (I realize they’re the ones driving the train)
It’s interesting what we have from Joseph. He himself said that he would be known in the world for good and evil. My sister pointed out that as Mormons we assume that Joseph would be known for good and misunderstood as evil, but the facts of the case show that he had both good and evil come out of him, especially in his decision to use girls as indulgences to guarantee the exaltation of whole families. Not a bad bargain, if the girls don’t matter, which apparently, they don’t. So, from Joseph we have the best and worst history on women. Joseph called the Relief Society a “nation of priests” and ordained Emma. But Joseph essentially sold girls to men as indulgences. It’s all a pile of pain.
Sort of an odd article. It presumes the Lord’s answer and declares the prophet fallen because that answer hasn’t been announced. An alternative view, of course, is that the Lord said no or, because nothing needs saying to maintain the status quo, said nothing.
In fact it not only presumes the answer but the timing of the answer. So, if instead of “no” the answer is simply “not yet,” again nothing needs saying to maintain the status quo.
The conclusion that the prophet is fallen may be a tad premature.
The Lord didn’t say no. The Lord didn’t say anything, not to these men anyway. All we have is Oaks claiming divine decree – in other words it’s always been like this so that’s how it’s staying, never mind that there’s never been a revelation specifying women we’re not to have the privilege.
Of course the big question is, and the one that Villiami is getting at I believe, why do we trumpet on about being guided by prophets, seers and revelators when it’s pretty clear none of them prophesy, see or reveal?
It’s an article of pain presented as an argument. Your alternatives are certainly possibilities, and should be rationally considered. Pain should also be acknowledged, and sometimes shared.
This reminds me of the distinction between the priestly class, those who had the responsibility to officiate in ordinances and the prophets who seldom held the office of “High Priest”.
I planned on writing more but I’m curious first to know how hard it could it be to utter this prayer?
“We do not think women should have the priesthood but it seems an important issue so we thought we’d ask.”
Much good could come from the effort.
It’s not as nuanced and complicated an issue as some make it out to be.
Here are my two major issues.
1. We need to quit emphasizing our Prophets, seers, and revelators if they are going to do none of those things.
2. I’m concerned no one has thought to take this to the Lord in prayer. If they had sought a revelation it would be their responsibility to deliver the will of God to his people, even if it was no.
Like I said, much good could have come from simply asking.
Long ago I came to the conclusion that many, if not most of top leadership have reached their level of incompetence. They like to give speeches about “supernal truths” yet they really don’t say much at all. I feel they really enjoy their rock star privileges but aren’t really delivering the goods. This realization caused me much sorrow.
Through fortunate first hand (a little) and second hand (much more) contact with the top leadership, I’m convinced your realization isn’t reality. At the same time, the majority of the church never has meaningful personal contact with the top leadership, and this disconnect is a serious problem. It was less of a problem even 30 years ago, but we have not adapted to the times with much speed. I expect the changes will come, but people are being hurt in the mean time. Publicly available evidence and logic lead them to conclusions like yours, and all someone like me can say is, I’m sorry. I can disagree with your conclusions, but I can’t fault them.
Whether I’m right or wrong, there is plenty of good to accomplish in the day. With or without Prophets I can going about increasing my discipleship; a fact that can be lost in defending worthless assertions in a post with little value to those who have need of love not lectures. My comment is for my benefit not yours Jonathan.