Tuesday, December 17, 2013

On Prophetic Error, or traditions of the Fathers.

As I drove into work this morning, this thought was on my mind. That prophets have always been human and subject to error.  Jonah ran away from his mission to Nineveh.  Peter apposed Gentiles in the church.  Paul\Saul persecuted the church.

I have spent the better part of a decade and a half studying black ordination history. When I look at this issue I am confronted with Elisha Ables and his ordination by Joseph Smith.  Joseph sent him as a Seventy to minister to the runaway slaves in Canada

It is hard to separate the pre 1848 Brigham Young from the post 1852 Utah Territorial Governor.  Something happened to Brigham Young on the open prairies of the western United States where he lost his personal battle with racial prejudice.  

Maybe it was the loss Joseph or  his homes in Nauvoo and Missouri to mob violence.  I will not try to justify it or explain it away.  I can only say it happened.  

I lost my grandfather, Alvin  Horr, on this same plain.  He was buried in an unmarked grave.

Prophets do effect the people they lead.  We as a people do have an effect on the prophets who lead us.  Moses first offered the priesthood to all of Israel but later restricted the priesthood to only his tribe, the Levites. The tribe, or race, who he, Moses trusted more.

The real picture is for us today do we do the hard work for ourselves of receiving a witness of his teachings from the Holy Ghost.  We are instructed to listen to the brethren then seek our own witness by the Holy Ghost.  Far too many members today rely on their testimony of the Book of Mormon, and fail to seek and independent testimony from the Holy Ghost. I do think it is possible for a prophet to lead us astray if we do not seek an independent testimony of the truth.  Just look at a recent example of Gordon B. Hinkley’s purchase of the Salamander Letters.

I have never spoon fed my children their testimonies but have hoped they would desire to gain one for themselves.  I want them to have a testimony of Jesus Christ and of his Gospel independent of any individual including their father.  I think this is the essential truth to be garnered here.

Written in response to a Facebook post to my friend Derek Hale.  The post was in response to the an article on LDS.Org about blacks and the priesthood.