By Marvin W. Cowan
Gospel Principles is a personal study guide and teacher’s manual containing basic LDS beliefs. It has been reprinted many times by the Mormon Church. In chapter nine entitled “Prophets of God,” it quotes Amos 3:7 in the Bible: “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” Then it asks, “What Is a Prophet?” The LDS answer is on pages 47-49: “A prophet is a man called by God to be his representative on earth. When a prophet speaks for God, it is as if God were speaking …He receives revelations and directions from the Lord for our benefit. He may see into the future and foretell coming events so that the world may be warned…He may be young or old, highly educated or unschooled…What then identifies a true prophet? A true prophet is always chosen by God and called through proper priesthood authority. Latter-day Saints sustain (confirm by voting to support) the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles as prophets. However, when we speak of ‘the prophet of the Church,’ we mean the President of the Church, who is President of the high priesthood… We should do those things the prophets tell us to do. President Wilford Woodruff (4th LDS Prophet) said: ‘I say to Israel, 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 program. 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.” Woodruff’s statement is also in Official Declaration-1 in the Doctrine & Covenants which gives it LDS scriptural authority.
Mormons use Amos 3:7 to teach that prophets are necessary today because God will do nothing without revealing it to them first. But that is not what Amos said! All of Amos chapter 3 is about God’s judgment upon Israel for their sin. The word “nothing” in verse 7 specifically refers to that “judgment.” Amos simply said God would not send judgment upon Israel without warning them first, and He did warn them. But God never revealed all of His works to true prophets in the past nor has he revealed them to LDS “Prophets.” Did God tell Joseph Smith that the LDS in “Zion,” MO would be driven out? If so, why did Smith prophesy in D. & C. 97:19 that Zion would not be moved? Smith was in Kirtland, OH when that happened, so he didn’t know that “Zion” was moved two weeks before his prophecy, but God surely knew it! Why did Prophet Spencer Kimball accept Mark Hoffman’s forged documents as genuine while LDS apostate Jerald Tanner saw that they were forgeries and publically said so? Those examples show that the LDS interpretation of Amos 3:7 is wrong.
Gospel Principles said a prophet “may see into the future and foretell coming events so that the world may be warned,” which sounds good, but what LDS prophets did that? Joseph Smith’s “Civil War Prophecy” in D. & C. 87 is his most famous prophecy, but anything true in it was previously predicted in newspapers and the rest of it is clearly false prophecy! Most of Smith’s other predictions in the D. & C. are also false. The first five LDS prophets after Smith predicted a few things but nearly all of them were false. LDS prophets since then have predicted nothing other than what is in the Bible or what was predicted by earlier LDS prophets. So, were they are really “prophets?” Wilford Woodruff, the 4th LDS Prophet, said that neither he nor any other LDS Prophet would lead the Church astray and if they attempted to do so the Lord would remove them. Was that why Joseph Smith was “removed” (killed) at age 38? Woodruff’s statement has been added to LDS scripture in the Doctrine & Covenants so Mormons are expected to believe it is true. But consider what Brigham Young, the 2nd LDS Prophet said: “How much unbelief exists in the minds of the Latter-day Saints in regard to one particular doctrine which I revealed to them, and which God revealed to me – namely that Adam is our father and God – I do not know, I do not inquire, I care nothing about it. Our Father Adam helped to make this earth, it was created expressly for him, and after it was made he and his companions came here. He brought one of his wives with him, and she was called Eve, because she was the first woman upon the earth” (Deseret News, June 18, 1873). By 1873 Brigham had been teaching this doctrine for over 20 years. The first time he taught it was on April 9, 1852 in which he said, “When our father Adam came into the Garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives with him. He helped to make and organize this world. He is Michael, the Archangel, the Ancient of Days! about whom holy men have written and spoken—He is our Father and our God, and the only God with whom we have to do” (Journal of Discourses, vol. I, p. 50). But while speaking about the Adam-God doctrine, the 12th LDS Prophet, Spencer Kimball said, “We denounce that theory” (Ensign, Nov. 1976, p.77) and Mormons today reject it. So, did God reveal the Adam-God doctrine to Prophet Brigham Young or is it a false theory to be denounced as Prophet Kimball said? Both cannot be true, so one of them was leading Mormons astray! This is one of many examples of contradictions between Mormon Prophets. So, is it true that LDS Prophets can’t lead Mormons astray? When Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets” in Matthew 24:11, He didn’t make exceptions for LDS or anyone else.
The claim that an LDS prophet may be young or old is also misleading. The only young prophet the LDS Church has had was the founder, Joseph Smith. Since then the senior member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has always become the next prophet, which means he must outlive the other 11 Apostles and is an old man when he becomes the LDS “Prophet.” While “a true prophet is always chosen by God,” there is no Biblical basis for the LDS claim that they are “called through the proper priesthood authority.” Some Biblical prophets had connections to the Levitical Priesthood, but most of them did not. No Biblical prophet ever served as President of a church or priesthood, nor was any “sustained” as prophet by a church vote the way LDS Prophets are sustained.