Prophets

(also see “Critical thinking”, “Priesthood”, and “Racism”)

 

Pros of Mormonism from the perspective of the
Believer
Nonbeliever
To many believers, prophets are one of the most special parts about the church. Believers thank God for having a prophet in their prayers and in song. Prophets speak the word of God, and we receive their words as if they were from God’s own mouth. Prophets provide a guide to happiness in these latter days and provide inspired counsel. The blessings of a prophet can be summed up in this primary sharing time lesson: “when we follow the prophet and do what Heavenly Father wants us to do, He will bless us and we will find happiness.”
 
We can have confidence that prophets will never lead us astray (see Official Declaration 1). Even if we don’t understand what they say, hearkening to their words will bring us safety and peace:
 
“It takes faith—real faith, unequivocal and unreserved—to accept and attempt to live prophetic counsel even when you don’t completely understand it. Such simple faith has the power to guide you safely through every challenge you may face in your life.”

N/A —
 
Cons of Mormonism from the perspective of the
Believer
Nonbeliever
Many believers struggle greatly with knowing when a prophet is speaking as a man and when they are speaking as a prophet. Additionally, we know that leaders are not infallible and have made mistakes and enacted incorrect policies or argued for incorrect doctrines (see “Racism”) How, then, do we know if a prophet is actually acting in God’s name and truly speaking his word?
 
Many believers ultimately take comfort in the idea that God will never lead his church astray, and that God would not allow a prophet to actually make a mistake large enough to affect anyone’s salvation.
 
The doctrine of prophets causes some believing women to suffer because they question why women are not allowed to hold this calling (see “Women’s issues”).
 
 
 
 
To some nonbelievers, prophets seem dangerous. The nonbeliever, who by definition does not believe that LDS prophets speak for God, must decide whether or not they think the LDS prophets personally believe in their calling. Are prophets deceiving people as knowing perpetrators of fraud? Or, are prophets good people who have been deceived and/or are delusional? Is it some combination of the two?
 
If the LDS prophets are knowingly fraudulent, the entire church becomes immoral and dangerous as millions of people pledge obedience to evil, conspiring men. If the LDS prophets are trying to do good themselves but are deceived and/or delusional, then the church is still a dangerous place. An environment where individuals with millions of followers falsely believe they speak for God is a recipe for disaster. In this situation, it’s only a matter of time before a false prophet enacts a policy, doctrine, or teaching that ends up hurting people. Because the millions of followers that this prophet has believe the prophet speaks for God, this situation is often left with fewer checks and balances that would otherwise prevent abuse of power or bad decisions from being made. There is no supreme court or legislature in the church. Indeed, the church more closely resembles a dictatorship.
 
Examples of this type of phenomenon in Mormonism include racist policies and discrimination against LGBT people. These policies and teachings have directly hurt blacks and LGBT members, but have also influenced millions of members to themselves be racist and homophobic.
 
Thus, the idea of following a prophet can seem inherently immoral and wrong to someone who has good reason to believe that this prophet does not actually speak for God. 

 

Comments relating to your lived experience with Mormonism are welcome. Although it can be difficult to distinguish at times, please focus on how the church helps and harms rather than it being true vs untrue.

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