Defending the Faith: Come, listen to a prophet's voice

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  • VMan22 Sandy, UT
    May 7, 2013 10:01 a.m.

    RockOn -- I don't understand the concept of "The prophet is not questionable." We question everyone in our society. If a father gives you advice you often question this person. Just because you are removed from a leader does not mean you start idolizing them to the point of not questioning their judgment. This is the easy way out. Often times leaders just stink and rarely do any good, even more damage then good.

  • Elcapitan Ivins, UT
    May 7, 2013 9:25 a.m.

    We Mormons are a peculiar people not well understood by the people of the world. This is prophecy fulfilled. I do not argue with any latter day prophet or diminish them to any leiving being, for in so doing, I would diminish that individual also.By follwoing the brethren, my children, which are many have found profound success in their lives. Be still and listen when modern day LDS prophets speak in Zion. You will be slessed.

  • David8 RALEIGH, NC
    May 6, 2013 12:20 a.m.

    Hi sharrona - thanks for the response.

    You are trying to pursuade me that God is a spirit. However, I already believe that.

    I'm trying to help you understand how God can have both a spirit and a body. This contradicts some traditions, but it does not contradict scripture.

    Do you believe the scriptures that say that man was created in God's image? That means the image of His spirit, since He didn't take on a body till he was born in Bethlehem. His spiritual form is therefore in the likeness of our human form, but with power to fill the universe with His influence, as you mentioned.

    Do you believe the scriptures that testify that Jesus Christ, our Lord, was resurrected, which means that his spirit reunited with his immortalized body? If so, you must believe that God has a body, else what did he do with that human-formed body after the resurrection? I believe the witness of the Apostles who testify that His tomb is empty, He appeared to them, let them touch Him, and ate fish and honeycomb with them. God's body is as real as yours or mine, but glorified and perfected.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    May 5, 2013 7:54 p.m.

    RE: David8, Brigham Young believed that God has a body, even though God is also a spirit. There is no contradiction??
    God is Spirit is represented not only in Christian theology, but in Jewish and Islamic thought.. God is not only radically non-anthropomorphic, but radically non-creaturomorphic, not only in respect of the properties he possesses, but in his manner of possessing them. God, we could say, differs in his very ontology from any and all created beings.

    God is omnipresent, “Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the Lord. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 23:24)/

    His essence,which is everywhere, and is infinite and immense, and cannot be contained in either, or be limited and circumscribed by space and place; see 1 Kings 8:27.

    .(Ecc 12:7)… the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. In (2Tim 1:9 & Titus 1:2)God existed before time, implying he created time. …

    God who gives life to the dead and Calls into Being things that were not.(Romans 4:17 NIV).

  • Dustin Caldwell RIVERTON, UT
    May 5, 2013 4:43 p.m.

    Chris B: "If prophets speak for God and God doesn't make mistakes, then either Woodruff wasn't a prophet, God made a mistake, or God said those things Bramahull said."

    Whose Life RU Living: "When people pick and choose when a man is a prophet, and not a prophet, we are in quite a conundrum. How can we determine if these men are prophets or not?"

    God doesn't make mistakes, but men do, and a prophet is a man. Therefore prophets make mistakes.

    Each of us gets to pick and choose what to believe - that's the point of Wilford Woodruff's testimony which is the subject of this article. I see no conundrum.

    We each have to determine whether these men are prophets or not. There is no scientific proof to lean on here. Prophets are not infallible, and we cannot abdicate our responsibility of choice by blindly following them. The answers come through good old-fashioned hard work: get the spirit, pray about it, ponder it, and then in humility, decide. This works best with issues that matter, not obscure quotes from the past.

  • David8 RALEIGH, NC
    May 4, 2013 9:31 p.m.

    Re. sharrona at 10:16 a.m. May 4, 2013 -

    What was your point? It looked like you were trying to show that Brigham Young and Joseph Smith had contradicted each other (via your first and second quotes). So I looked up the Brigham Young quote. (I would post the link, but Deseret News doesn't allow web links in comments) After finding the text you quoted, I found this in the very next paragraph:

    "Our God and Father in heaven, is a being of tabernacle, or, in other words, He has a body, with parts the same as you and I have; and is capable of showing forth His works to organized beings, as, for instance, in the world in which we live, it is the result of the knowledge and infinite wisdom that dwell in His organized body."

    So, Brigham Young believed that God has a body, even though God is also a spirit.

    You and I are spirits currently clothed in mortal bodies, some day to be clothed in immortal, resurrected bodies. God is a spirit, and so are we. God has a body, and so do we. There is no contradiction.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    May 4, 2013 10:16 a.m.

    RE: zoar63, Brigham Young, "The Lord fills the immensity of space, What saith the Psalmist? “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.…… "(JOD v 1 p 49-50) Or Psalm 139-God’s Omnipresence.

    J S, Lectures on Faith, Q. What is the Father? A. He is a personage of glory and of power. (5:2.). What is the son? First, he is a personage of tabernacle.

    “Our Father which art in Heaven with, The supreme being transcends space and time. The first goes to pieces if you begin to apply the literal(Mormonism) meaning to it. How can a sexual animal really be our father? How can it be in the sky? The *second falls into no such traps. C.S. Lewis.
    They all teach, God is Spirit. Google πνευμα ο θεος (John 4:24 Greek N.T.)

    May 4, 2013 6:19 a.m.

    God put us here to learn, to gain experience, to progress, and that includes prophets. If they had the omniscience and degree of perfection that God has (ironically, the critics seem to want to give it to them), there would not be any need for them to remain in this life.

    Plural marriage: read the writings of Wilford Woodruff in entirety and ponder the trial and suffering he went through before rescinding the practice.

    Blacks and the priesthood: read the accounts of the "blood, sweat, and tears" Spencer W. Kimball went through before receiving his revelation.

    Those who drop these criticisms of Presidents of the LDS Church are like the Sadducees whom the Savior observed do not understand the scriptures nor the power of God. In His wisdom, He allows all to experience whatever is necessary to bring to pass their immortality and eternal life. The responsibility to accept and follow his guidance is up to them. Prophets are not exempt merely because He's chosen them to be his spokesmen.

  • Dan Maloy Enid, OK
    May 3, 2013 9:09 p.m.

    To everyone, but particularly to those who doubt the authenticity of the LDS church's claim of being the one, true restored gospel of Jesus Christ:

    How does one know what is true?

    You ask God with simple humility, with a heart that is ready to obey His answer and then you LISTEN to what He has to say. That is so simple that even a child can understand it if they want to.

    No, you don't 'google' the truth, as someone claimed above. The internet is filled with the opinions of imperfect human beings. Of course not 'everything' on the internet is false. Don't be ridiculous, that is not what I'm saying. However....there is enough falsehoods and outright untruths on the internet (PROVEN falsehoods) that only a foolish, foolish person believes that truth can be found on the internet or from ANY source regulated and controlled by an imperfect human.

    But going to God.....STRAIGHT to God. Now that is different.

    God will hear you and has the power to answer AND the will to answer anyone in a way that THEY can understand, otherwise God is neither omnipotent or loving, is He?

  • zoar63 Mesa, AZ
    May 3, 2013 5:15 p.m.


    What a pity it would be if we were led by one man to utter destruction! Are you afraid of this? I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by Him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken that influence they could give to their leaders, did they know for themselves, by the revelations of Jesus, that they are led in the right way. Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not. This has been my exhortation continually.
    (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols., 9:, p.150) Brigham Young

  • rlsintx Plano, TX
    May 3, 2013 3:08 p.m.

    There are many quotes which I can't reconcile in this life with actions which followed. I intend to ask them 1:1 about the discrepancies myself in the hereafter, and with confidence feel that I'll know where their own flaws and errors lay. Until then, I'll respect that they were men called to serve who did their best in their times, culture and position to which they were called and not judge them or their comments by my generations societal prejudices.

  • Strider303 Salt Lake City, UT
    May 3, 2013 2:54 p.m.

    I look forward to and enjoy Dr. Peterson's column each week. I find his work insightful and educational. I have heard him speak and sense his honesty and sincerity. I take him as a scholar and a gentleman.

    I also wade through the comments of the obstreperous harpies that seem to appear to contradict or skew his topics toward their own personal agendas. They remind me of something someone once said to the effect: People can leave the Church but just can't seem to leave it alone.

    Such a burden anger is (Yoda-speak).

  • Verdad Orem, UT
    May 3, 2013 12:03 p.m.

    There are many weird and largely irrelevant comments here, as usual, and they come from the usual suspects.

    Can these critics really not see the difference between a man's opinion on this or that topic and his testimony as a witness? Are they really unable to distinguish viewpoints on peripheral topics from centrally important convictions? Do they genuinely lack the ability to tell a specific notion on a subordinate issue from a fundamental worldview?

    Or are they just reacting negatively as they virtually always do to everything Peterson ever writes, regardless of his particular subject?

    Inquiring minds already know.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    May 3, 2013 10:41 a.m.

    RE: Wilford Woodruff,Lamanites [Native Americans], now a down‑trodden people, are a remnant of the house of Israel. The curse of God has followed them as it has done the Jews, though the Jews have not been darkened in their skin as have the Lamanites. 22:173 (JOD).

    RE: zoar63, AZ, Here is the key, I never yet preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of men, that they may not call it Scripture, Let me have the privilege of correcting a sermon and it is a good as Scripture as they deserve. (JoD v 13 p. 95 also see v. 13. P 264) Brigham Young
    .Can you make a Christian of a Jew? I tell you Nay, If a Jew comes into this church ,and the blood honestly professes to be a Saint, a follower of Christ, and if the blood of Judah is in his veins, he will apostatize.(JoD V. 2 p. 142)Brigham Young.

  • Silverprospector SAN ANTONIO, TX
    May 3, 2013 8:27 a.m.

    Zoar63 - You probably don't want to go there. There are hundreds of questionable quotes that were delivered at the pulpit, and in conference and supposedly under direction of the spirit. So then what is your response when somebody tells you those quotes? You will explain it away in another way, find a different excuse for them. But I tell you this, if a prophets words from the pulpit aren't really doctrine, then what is the point of those sermons? If the prophets words over the pulpit can't be counted as doctrine, then surely a lay members words in church aren't either.

  • zoar63 Mesa, AZ
    May 2, 2013 7:14 p.m.

    Here is the key

    And this is the ensample unto them, that they shall speak as they are moved upon by the Holy Ghost.

    And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation. D&C 68:3-4

    A person needs to be in tune with the Spirit to determine if the words spoken from prophets and other men called and set apart in the church, are the will of the Lord or just an opinion being expressed.

    Every word that falls from a prophets mouth does not mean the prophet is speaking for God unless the above criteria is in place.

    Those passages provided by Bramahull were from journals. Not exactly the same as if it were delivered in a conference session. After all writings in journals are the private thoughts of others.

  • Moontan Roanoke, VA
    May 2, 2013 5:53 p.m.

    Sharrona ... questionable quotes are made by leaders of all religious traditions. Since they are imperfect people, this should come as no surprise. What does this prove other than sometimes all men open their mouths only to change feet? Do I reject traditional Christianity because a leader says it is okay to divorce a wife with Alzheimer's? Of course not; I put his life and teachings in context, and use Scripture as a reference point. Those who use particular quotes from LDS leaders to disparage LDS doctrine are on thin ice, because their leaders too have said things they'd rather forget. The inconsistent application of criticism is an embarrassment to most people.

    JoeBlow ... Would you prefer the council of dumb old men?

  • sharrona layton, UT
    May 2, 2013 4:21 p.m.

    RE: Leo Femedlers, Fortunately we have all been given the Light of Christ to guide us *back?

    Wilford Woodruff Journal,” Feb. 19, 1854. “ … there was a learned Doctor that wanted to be baptized.... He [the doctor] is satisfied that the doctrine of the plurality of God and that Adam is our Father is a true doctrine revealed from God to Joseph and Brigham. For this same doctrine is taught in some of the old Jewish records which have never been in print and I know Joseph Smtih nor Brigham Young have had access to, and the Lord has revealed this doctrine unto them or they could not have taught it.(*Adam-God doctrine). Journal of Wilford Woodruff, Sept. 4, 1860.

    Wilford Woodruff on, ”What was that mark? It was a mark of blackness. That mark rested upon Cain, and descended upon his posterity from that time until the present. Today there are millions of descendants of Cain, through the lineage of Ham, in the world, and that mark of darkness still rests upon them.” General Conference, April 7, 1889; Millennial Star 51:339

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    May 2, 2013 3:55 p.m.

    If I were LDS, I would constantly ask the church leaders -

    "Is what you just said your opinion, or is it divinely inspired?"

    Needless to say, I would not make a good LDS.

    Serious question.

    How do you know what is "inspired" and what is just the council of intelligent old men?

  • Leo Femedlers El Paso, TX
    May 2, 2013 12:50 p.m.

    Prophets opinion or prophet's prophecy? Journal entries for himself or for the church? Doesn't matter at all. Fortunately we have all been given the Light of Christ to guide us back. Some are fortunate to even have the Holy Ghost as their companion -- if we receive Him.

    So the point gets back to what was quoted earlier. "if he were the emperor of the world and had control over the whole human family he would sustain every man, woman and child in the enjoyment of their religion."

    Agency is absolutely amazing. I will be the only one accountable for me. All I have to do is avoid deception. How? Hold fast...

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    May 2, 2013 12:11 p.m.

    "Brother Cannon remarked that people wondered how many wives and children I had. He may inform them that I shall have wives and children by the million, and glory, and riches, and power, and dominion, and kingdom after kingdom, and reign triumphantly."
    (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, volume 8, pages 178-179)

    "I have never preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of men, that they may not call scripture."
    (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, verse 13, page 95)

  • Whos Life RU Living? Ogden, UT
    May 2, 2013 11:31 a.m.

    To RockOn,

    "Some can't let a prophet be a man."

    RockOn, sorry to break this to you, but all prophets are mortal men and not prophets. When people pick and choose when a man is a prophet, and not a prophet, we are in quite a conundrum. How can we determine if these men are prophets or not?

    It is very convenient to say a man is a prophet on the socially accepted doctrine, but then do a 180 on the questionable doctrines. With this type of thinking any religious leader could be considered unflawed and God's prophet.

    The good thing is that people can ask the Google God their questions and have them answered.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    May 2, 2013 11:30 a.m.


    You can't pick and choose when you want to claim something is "revelation from god" and when something is "man speak" based on whether it helps your argurment of someone being a "prophet" or not.

    If prophets speak for God and God doesn't make mistakes, then either Woodruff wasn't a prophet, God made a mistake, or God said those things Bramahull said.

    Bramabull, I'd love to hear more. Keep them coming..

  • RockOn Spanish Fork, UT
    May 2, 2013 10:58 a.m.

    Brahma... Some can't let a prophet be a man. On both sides. You would have had a devil of a time if you'd lived around the time of Moses and took everything he said or did (like killing a guard). Nothing I've read in 30+ years of scholarship reading from folks like you castigating a prophet have diminished their calling in the least. Rough stones still roll despite the many haters lined up trying to assuage their guilt. The Lords of the Mirrors need to turn the mirrors on themselves.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    May 2, 2013 10:39 a.m.

    "We will not end the practice of plural marriage until the coming of the Son of Man". (JOURNAL OF JOHN HENRY SMITH)


    "And if any man mingle his seed with the seed of Cain the only way he could get rid of it or have Salvation would be to come forward and have his head cut off and spill his blood upon the ground- it would also take the life of his children." (Wilford Woodruff Journal)

    This is a good start

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    May 2, 2013 9:51 a.m.

    @brahmabull, what did Woodruff say?

    I'm not mormon and dont know one Mormon president from the next

  • raybies Layton, UT
    May 2, 2013 9:50 a.m.

    I find it so interesting that the one thing this man would record into a machine that had the potential to bring his voice to generations past the end of his lifetime was a witness of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Very exciting to know this exists. I know that my grandfather and great grandfather who have both passed on, left behind meager worldly belongings but in their journals and notes they all repeat over and over their testimony of the truthfulness of this restored Gospel. It is the one thing that matters more than anything else, that God loves all his children, and that through prophetic call has set in motion a great and marvelous work that has the potential to bring saving ordinances sanctioned by His authority to every man, woman and child on earth. We are so blessed that in a time of so many amazing wonders and discoveries that God has given us one gift above all others:

    The truth.

  • dogchow1 Salt Lake City, UT
    May 2, 2013 9:07 a.m.

    Thank you for this article and the recording that I hadn't known about before. It is wonderful to me to hear testimonies from prophets, but it is especially great to hear this one from a prophet who knew Joseph Smith personally.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    May 2, 2013 9:06 a.m.

    Come, listen to a prophets opinion.... No but seriously if I quoted some of the controversial things Woodruff said during his time as prophet, it would be dismissed as opinion. But when testifying for the prophet Joseph Smith, then of course it is counted as fact. Interesting none the less.

  • Leo Femedlers El Paso, TX
    May 2, 2013 8:13 a.m.

    I find it fascinating that Joseph said "if he were the emperor of the world and had control over the whole human family he would sustain every man, woman and child in the enjoyment of their religion." I don't recall ever hearing agency described in that manner. Thank you DNews for this great article.