One of the key claims of the LDS (Mormon) church is their insistence that they still today have living prophets. Most Mormons will tell you what a benefit it is to have a living prophet today. For example, in an article entitled Why Do We Need Prophets?, LDS President Dieter F. Uchtdorf writes:
Heavenly Father reveals this wisdom to His children on earth through His servants the prophets (see Amos 3:7)… Prophets are inspired teachers and are always special witnesses of Jesus Christ (see D&C 107:23). Prophets speak not only to the people of their time, but they also speak to people throughout all time. Their voices echo through the centuries as a testament of God’s will to His children…God’s priceless instructions to humankind are found in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. In addition, the Lord speaks to us through His servants, as He will again at the upcoming general conference.
The LDS church wants us to believe that these modern prophets are receiving inspired wisdom from God and that these prophetic messages speak to people through the centuries. They want you to believe that the messages from the modern prophets are on par with the Bible. But I think you can see from the writings and constantly changing doctrines of the LDS church that these prophets do not provide benefit. Their words, even within the LDS church, do not stand the test of time, and therefore they are not from God.
A great example of this can be seen in a recent LDS article about Race and the Priesthood which rejects prophetic teachings from one of the earliest and most well-known of these prophets, Brigham Young. This article discusses the well-known issue of the LDS church’s exclusion of blacks from the priesthood and temple ceremonies:
From the mid-1800s until 1978—the Church did not ordain men of black African descent to its priesthood or allow black men or women to participate in temple endowment or sealing ordinances.
Their embarrassment over this issue is understandable. Their desire to move away from that stance could even be considered commendable. But, there is one huge, glaring problem. Brigham Young, the living prophet of the LDS church, first instituted these policies:
In 1852, President Brigham Young publicly announced that men of black African descent could no longer be ordained to the priesthood.
And the problem did not stop with the prophet Brigham Young, but continued for about 150 years:
Following the death of Brigham Young, subsequent Church presidents restricted blacks from receiving the temple endowment or being married in the temple.
Remember that these “Church presidents” are the living prophets of the church. These are not mere men speaking their personal opinions. They are, supposedly, speaking for God and they are speaking about absolutely central topics of their faith! Prophet after prophet after prophet consistently upheld these teachings about blacks. Remember, they want you to believe that these LDS prophets are “inspired teachers,” and that these “prophets speak not only to the people of their time, but they also speak to people throughout all time”?
Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse.
Theories??? Brigham Young’s prophetic teaching about blacks, the curse and the priesthood were not merely theories delivered in some obscure location. They were delivered by the prophet of the church in the tabernacle in Salt Lake City. His words are recorded in the Journal of Discourses. As were many of the similar teachings on blacks from the prophets who followed. You cannot have it both ways and being logically consistent. You cannot have the priesthood given prophetic messages one day and the next day call them merely theories.
So, in the final analysis, what is the LDS priesthood good for? If these are merely theories, the answer is absolutely nothing! This perhaps sounds harsh, but remember that the LDS church is making these strong claims for its prophets.
In case you are interested and still reading, here is a snippet from a speech by President Brigham Young, delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, October 9, 1859, reported by G. D. Watt on pages 282-291 of the 7th volume of the Journal of Discourses. I have highlighted some text on blacks, the curse, and the priesthood.
You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild, and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind. The first man that committed the odious crime of killing one of his brethren will be cursed the longest of anyone of the children of Adam. Cain slew his brother. Cain might have been killed, and that would have put a termination to that line of human beings. This was not to be, and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin. Trace mankind down to after the flood, and then another curse is pronounced upon the same race—that they should be the “servant of servants;” and they will be, until that curse is removed; and the Abolitionists cannot help it, nor in the least alter that decree. How long is that race to endure the dreadful curse that is upon them? That curse will remain upon them, and they never can hold the Priesthood or share in it until all the other descendants of Adam have received the promises and enjoyed the blessings of the Priesthood and the keys thereof. Until the last ones of the residue of Adam’s children are brought up to that favorable position, the children of Cain cannot receive the first ordinances of the Priesthood. They were the first that were cursed, and they will be the last from whom the curse will be removed. When the residue of the family of Adam come up and receive their blessings, then the curse will be removed from the seed of Cain, and they will receive blessings in like proportion. (emphasis added)