Is The Prophet a Prophet?-Two Interesting Articles

Recently, I participated in a discussion on a message board about whether The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is really led by “living prophets” that function in the same way that the Biblical prophets, that Latter-day Saints tend to compare them to, did.  This topic is always interesting to me, especially because the concept of having “living prophets”, prophets just like Moses, Abraham, Noah, Isaiah, Paul, etc, sounds attractive, and implies a continuity  with the prophetic calling of the various Biblical prophets.  I particularly loved reading the phrase “living oracles”, as the word “oracle” particularly implies that these men are more than just everyday men that receive inspiration from God just like everyone else is able to.

When I would embrace my duties as a “member missionary“, I would almost always bring up the subject of having prophets and apostles, and how these were found in the Bible, and then disappeared, but now, through the Restoration, we have living prophets and apostles that guide God’s people, receiving Divine revelation, just like they did anciently.   I remember one conversation when the person I was talking to asked what the latest revelation was.  I wasn’t sure if I should bring up the issue of the priesthood restriction and how in 1978, the Prophet receive revelation from God to allow all worthy males to be ordained to the priesthood, when previously, blacks were restricted from ordination.  Somehow, being an African American, talking to another African American, it seemed as if bringing that up wouldn’t be conducive to my member missionary work (and indeed, another friend at a later time did his own research, found out about the priesthood restriction, read the various negative and racist statements various leaders made during that time, and was turned off).  So, I thought, and thought, and thought, and wasn’t sure what I should bring up as the latest revelation the Prophet received, that demonstrated his prophetic calling as distinct from the [non-prophet] leaders of other Christian Churches.  I could bring up building more, smaller temples, or the lowering of the missionary ages, or the Family: A Proclamation to the World, yet none of those had a recorded revelation in the same way that we have in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, or the latter day revelations recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants (and even with the priesthood restriction, there is no recorded revelation of the Lord speaking to His prophet, in the same way that we read in the rest of the D&C; there’s only an Official Declaration that says that a revelation was received), and didn’t really seem on par with the Biblical revelations and guidance received by the prophets, nor even on par with the experiences of Joseph Smith, recorded in the D&C.

It was this conversation that really got me thinking about the 15 men we sustained as Prophets, Seers, and Revelators, and whether they really functioned as prophets, seers, and revelators, and were on par with Abraham, Moses, Noah, Malachi, Paul, etc, or whether they were no different than the leaders of other Christian Churches.

Rewinding back to the discussion I was having recently online, I happened upon two articles written at Zomarah’s blog, and found them very well written and expressed the viewpoint I came to hold, and a viewpoint that probably many Latter-day Saints have on their living prophets.  Here are links to them:

Thomas S. Monson: A Seer, A Revelator, a Translator, and a Prophet

Silent Revelations

So, I’m sure that the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are well meaning men, who believe they are inspired in their duties, just like how most Christians believe they can receive inspiration from God to guide them.  I don’t ascribe any ill-will to them, however I really wonder how the “living prophets” claim is really something that provides something different than what can be found in other Churches, something different that resulted from the Restoration.  I believe I have my answer, hence why I reverted back to the Catholic Church, which believes that, although the Pope and the College/Council of Bishops are certainly guided by the Holy Spirit in guiding the Church, preventing doctrinal error and innovation, teaching God’s children by the Spirit, etc, that the Holy Spirit guides the unfolding understanding of the Deposit of Faith given anciently, and that when they gather in Council, the proceedings and conclusions are Spirit-inspired, we don’t necessarily believe that they are prophets, though God has called various men and women throughout Catholic history to be prophets, and prophetesses, who have received visions and visitations from Heaven, some including warnings and prophecies about the future, including the various popular visitations of Mary, and that many of these prophetic events have resulted in miracles, such as Lourdes Water from a spring in France.  These people had and have demonstrable prophetic encounters and abilities, and really are fascinating to me, especially in comparison to the leaders sustained by Latter-day Saints as Prophets, Seers, and Revelators, 15 of them.

Why This Blog?

Hi everyone!  My name is Jason.  Please see my “About” page for some of my background story.  The purpose of this blog is to share my thoughts, as well as the thoughts of others, on topics related to Mormonism (i.e. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), as well as Catholicism (i.e. The Catholic Church).  Specifically, as a revert from the LDS Church back to the Catholic Church, I’d like to share some of my thoughts and experiences so that others considering such a conversion/reversion will be empowered with quality information to make a fully informed decision.  I also envision this blog as providing further enlightenment as to the beliefs and practices of Latter-day Saints, as well as those of Catholics.

At the outset, I should say that although I do believe that the Catholic Church is the Lord’s Church, established by Jesus Christ Himself anciently, as we read in the New Testament, and that His Church and priesthood have continued uninterrupted to this day, and that many of the posts here will emphasize the reality of that point, as well as my belief that the LDS Church is not the Lord’s Church (and I’ll offer critiques of various uniquely LDS beliefs), it is my goal to maintain this blog as a charitable space where thoughts may be shared.  “Anti-Mormon” or “Anti-Catholic” comments will not be tolerated, nor will I make such statements (though I will certainly offer my critiques of the LDS faith).

So, welcome to my blog!  In the spirit of evangelical Catholicism, I hope that Latter-day Saints that find this blog will consider my thoughts and experiences, and one day come to know (as I have), not only through scriptural and historical reading, but through the witness of God through the Holy Spirit, that the Catholic Church is True, that Jesus Christ established it, that it is founded on the Apostles, that the priesthood of God has continued down through the ages offering the sacraments, the sacred mysteries of God to His children, through which we become sanctified by God’s grace, experiencing the cleansing and renewing power of Christ’s atonement, and that Christ maintains His Church through the ages, and that no human misdeeds could overthrow the Body of Christ or cause it to cease to exist, necessitating a restoration.